What Washing My Windshield Taught Me About User Experience

Everything is easy. "Unlocking the door is easy. Just jiggle the key!" or "Mary  is struggling to download a PDF from Chrome. I can do it in two seconds!"

Not everything is easy just because you can do it.

I was at a gas station filling up (nothing to do with the post on convenience I wrote about last month). While washing my windows, I overheard a man say, "Would you like help with that?" to two ladies at the pump behind him. I turned to look.

They couldn't figure out how to wash their windshield with the squeegee.

I stopped and watched, as the man walked over to the car. They had Texas plates. Their car was dirty. Sand, salt, and dirt plastered every inch. You could barely see out the windows. The man lifted up the wiper to clean their windshield.

The ladies stood and watched, as the man gave a lesson on how to use the squeegee. He then washed every window. They were appreciative.

I smiled, got in my car and drove away.

So what's the lesson?

Three things.

1. Don't Assume Your Users Know Everything

I'm launching my first web application. As my programmer and I work through logic arguments and database tables, I'm starting to understand how things work. It's easy for me to use the appplication. But, what I have to keep in mind is new users know absolutely nothing about my product. How to use it, how it works, and what it even does. It's time for me to get into the nitty-gritty of UX/UI and make things simple.

2. Always Be Willing to Lend a Hand

Don't let anyone struggle. My Dad has always told me this, but now I'm realizing it applies to user experience. Sometimes, you have to walk users through the process. Invision does a great job at this. I need to have as much support as possible, whether it's through YouTube help videos, an online forum, or live support - help has to be a click or call away.

3. Make it So Easy, They'll Come Back and Do it Again

I need to make my application so easy to use that customers will come back, time and time again. Once they learn, they should be able to do it themselves. If my customers sign-up and never log-in again, I've got a problem. It's got to be so easy my Grandmother could do it.

I wonder what I'll learn next time I go to the gas station.

Have any unusual experiences taught you about user experience? Drop me a note below.