"this product sucks!" better experiences, better business, better world


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This Product Sucks brings awareness that the things we design could suck unless we are intentional and conscious of the impacts on users. Examples include the distinction between a bad product and one that sucks. Principles are supported by abstracted examples. The problems and root causes can (and should) apply to any product that people interact with. Please don't design any more products that suck.


  • 1. This Product Sucks! Better Experiences, Better Business, Better World 25-Minute version for Centerville Rotary 12May2011 Darren Kall darrenkall@kallconsulting.com@darrenkall#thisproductsucks #Rotary Kall Consulting 2011 KALL Consulting Customer and User Experience Design and Strategy


  • This
  • product
  • sucks!

Allen the Customer 3.

  • Stealing money from his company
  • Ruining productivity across the enterprise
  • Impacting Allens health

Allen was right We had made a product that sucks

  • Target users happy, but we missed Allen
  • Missed the whole Allen persona
  • Missed that the product fit poorly in an existing business system

Allens User Experience (UX) 4. Where was this? 5. Where was this? 6.

  • My point is . . .

It could have been any of these companies It could be your company Not just software, Internet, mobile, etc. It could be your product 7. To avoid making products that suck:Distinguish between bad UX and one that sucks Know how to prevent products that suck 8. Audience Test: Does this product suck? Distinguish between bad UX and one that sucks 9. This product is disturbing butdoesnot suck Photo Credit 10. This product is broken butdoesnot suck Photo Credit 11. This product is annoying butdoesnot suck Photo Credit 12. This product is ugly butdoesnot suck Photo Credit 13. This product is a liebutdoesnot suck Photo Credit 14. YES. This productsucks Photo Credit 15.

  • The people who design products that suck
  • dont think about, or dont know about,
  • the people that have to use them

Products suck whenthey cant be used for the purposesthey were designed for But this worst type of user experiencebreakdown is preventable 16. Photo Credit 17. Photo Credit One Dozen Products that Suck No Internet or Mobile ExamplesEven Though they Exist General Principles to Apply to your Product Problem Root Cause Prevention Know how to prevent products that suck 18. Problem 1: Triathlon scenario = running, biking, swimming Watch is ruined if you press buttons underwater Photo Credit 19. Root Cause: Implementation or technology did not meet up with user scenario Photo Credit 20.

  • Prevention:
  • User scenarios
  • Task flow analysis
  • Usability test
  • Beta test
  • Customer concept validation

Photo Credit 21. Photo Credit Problem 2:Adaptive transmission not designed for a shared car or variable driving style 22. Photo Credit Root Cause:Designed for ideal-world case not real-world case 23. Photo Credit

  • Prevention*:
  • User research
  • Workflow
  • Task flow
  • Activity cycles
  • Beta test

* To credit VW, they redesigned and eventually dropped this feature 24. Photo Credit Pull or Push? Can you tell? 25. Photo Credit Problem 3: Even with signs users bang into doors 26. Photo Credit Root Cause: Handle affordances not distinguishable 27. Photo Credit Prevention: Design for affordances. Things that look the same should act the same

  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Usability checklist
  • Remembering your own experiences

28. Photo Credit 29. Photo Credit Problem 4:Frustrating experience to pay for parking 30. Photo Credit Root Cause: Bad information architecture, bad visual design, bad task flow 31. Photo Credit

  • Prevention:
  • Intentional IA design
  • Task flow analysis
  • Usability study
  • Participatory Design
  • Guerilla UX

32. Photo Credit Problem 5:Scalding or freezing shower 33. Photo Credit Root Cause:Fixing bad UI in help, the manual, or in training 34. Photo Credit Prevention:Fix the product, not the user 35. Photo Credit Problem 6: 36. Photo Credit

  • Root Cause:
  • Did not anticipate expected user behavior
  • Did not prevent fatal errors

37. Photo Credit

  • Prevention:
  • Do not design against engrained user behaviors
  • Usability test
  • Task flow analysis

38. Photo Credit 39. Photo Credit Problem 7:Believing Dont worry, well fix it later. 40. Photo Credit Root cause:Later never happens 41. Photo Credit Prevention:Prioritize user-impacting bugs 42. Photo Credit Problem 8:Breaking user trust 43. Photo Credit

  • Root cause:
  • Telling lies
  • Making mistakes
  • Assuming customers cant do math

44. Photo Credit

  • Prevention:
  • Dont lie
  • Correct even minor mistakes they accumulate
  • Remember users are smarter than you think

45. Problem 9:The self-locking hotel internal bedroom suite door Photo Credit: Darren Kall 46. Root Cause:Things are not used in a vacuum missed system design Photo Credit: Darren Kall 47. Photo Credit: Darren Kall

  • Prevention:
  • Interactive system analysis
  • Beta testing
  • Fix stuff
  • customers
  • complain
  • about

48. Photo Credit 49. Photo Credit Problem 10:No sidewalk where people want to walk Im the user damn it! 50. Photo Credit Root Cause:Prohibition does not work 51. Photo Credit

  • Prevention:
  • Participatory design
  • Catch the user
  • Democratize design

52. Photo Credit 53. Photo Credit Problem 11:Cant set alarm. Cant follow directions. Dont trust product 54. Photo Credit Root Cause:Product not designed for use. Instruction is a poor substitute for good design 55. Photo Credit Prevention:Usability test. Products should be easy to use 56. Photo Credit Problem 12:Unintended Acceleration 57. Root Cause:We lost sight of our customers. James Lentz Photo Credit 58. Photo Credit Root Cause: Complaint investigations focused too narrowly on technical without consideringHOWconsumersUSEDtheir vehicles. James Lentz 59.

  • Check if solution explains the user data
      • 70% not the pedal
  • Test for worked as used not as designed
  • Ethnographic research into drivers
  • Analytics on real users to build test scenarios
  • Listen to experts
  • Prevention:
  • Listen to customers

Photo Credit 60. UX design prevents products that suck:

  • Meet (advertised) user scenarios with capabilities
  • Design for real-world use, not ideal-world
  • Distinguish affordances
  • Design with conscious intention
  • Fix the product, not the user
  • Dont design against engrained behaviors
  • Prioritize user-impacting bugs
  • Correct even minor mistakes
  • Remember your product is part of a whole system
  • Prohibition does not work democratize design
  • Products should be easy to use
  • Dont lose sight ofHOWcustomersUSEyour product


  • Products dont have to suck
  • to create a UX breakdown

A UX breakdown can happen if yourproduct is disturbing, unpredictable, difficult, untrustworthy, awkward, broken, ugly,annoying, sloppy, etc. 62.

  • Customer-centered businesses have insights about the people who purchase and use the system, object, process or concept that they sell

And they keep this in mind as they develop products 63. UX design isa customer-centered approach to theinnovation, design, engineering, development, and deployment of a product or service The 12 examples of products that suckcould have been preventedif the companies had taken a UX approach UX design is a way to keep customer insight in mind during product development 64. Photo Credit 65.

  • Step 1: Do something yourself - today
  • Step 2: Learn more on your own
  • Step 3: Get a coach to teach you
  • Step 4: Rent UX help through vendors
  • Step 5: Hire UX employees
  • Step 6: If you already have UX people, use them!

The Six Step Programto Better User Experience 66. In Conclusion:

  • Donttolerateproducts that suck
  • Dontbuyproducts that suck
  • And

Photo Credit 67. Dontdesign productsthatsuck Photo Credit 68.

  • Darren Kall
  • [email_address]
  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/darrenkall
  • @darrenkall
  • +1 (937) 648-4966
  • http://www.slideshare.net/DarrenKall

Thank you.KALL Consulting Customer and User Experience Design and Strategy

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  • Darren Kall
  • [email_address]
  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/darrenkall
  • @darrenkall
  • +1 (937) 648-4966
  • http://www.slideshare.net/DarrenKall