Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Unfulfilled customer expectations

If a product promises ease of use, it better deliver...

"Until recently, I've always used a "bagged" vacuum. It's had the paper bag inserts that you can throw and replace. My life has gone something like this:
1)Bag fills with junk
2)Replace bag- wait, I'm out.
3)Go to store
4)Which store sold them again (for my model)?
5)Can't find my vacuum bags anywhere, so I get a generic or "closest fit"
6)Cut or otherwise manipulate the bag to fit right
7)It never does, a mess ensues when I return to steps 1 and 2.

Having been duped by that process one too many times, I decided that I wanted something more "user centered." I got myself a bagless vacuum from the Home Depot. (Everstar Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner-Model VC9550 Pictured right). I realize it's inexpensive, but I have a small apartment and didn't need the black hole/vortex generating Dyson. I got this thing specifically because I had the expectation that emptying my vacuum was going to be a better experience for me. No more bags/stores/bad fits. I just walk to my trash can and push a button or two.

Thing was working great. Nice vacuum for the money. Until it got time to empty the canister. I easily ejected the "gunk" cannister and walked it to the trash can. Pressed the button and.... nothing. Nothing at all. The bottom escape hatch didn't even open. I had to pry it open with my hands to get the lid to open. I expected that once I did this, I would get a rush of dirt spilling out, so I wisely used caution as I pried. But no, still nothing. I cautiously peeked inside. There is lint and gunk all clogged inside around the center filter.

You see where I'm going with this. I had to reach in to start pulling this stuff out. Now I've actually made my experience slightly worse than it was before. Sure I have one less thing to put on my shopping list, but an ideal user experience (in my mind) does not include pulling the inner junk of my vacuum out with my bare hands."   continued ...   (Via User Centered)

Digging in there does not seem like easy cleaning - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Digging in there does not seem like easy cleaning


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