UX, Bathrooms, and Mad Men
What comes to mind when you think about the 1960s? Politically incorrect cultural norms, awkward design elements, or clunky product experiences designed for the interests of big businesses instead of end users? Or do you just think of Don Draper with a glass of scotch?
Inspired by Mad Men, the Bathroom Blogfest community, consisting of over 30 bloggers focused on user, reader, customer, patient and other experiences, invites you to look back, compare and contrast, and highlight experience designs that are stuck in the '60s. The goal is create online conversation about the user experience and improve it.
The 2010 Bathroom Blogfest, now in its fifth year, takes place the last week in October. During that time, bloggers write about the importance of bathrooms in the customer experience. Their posts encompass perspectives ranging from sociology, marketing, research, psychology, the environment, to customer experience and UX design.
Why bathrooms? Bathrooms are symbolic of purposely overlooked or unmentioned spaces that are ignored, forgotten, and not cared for. But at the same time, they are necessary.
Think of your own expectations. What are your minimum requirements for cleanliness and efficiency from public bathrooms in museums, gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, and retail stores? How do you react when those expectations are taken to new heights or dashed into the ditch? How have those experiences affected your perception of the establishments you patronize?
Although positive experiences exist, many simply disappoint. Beyond the physical and human inconvenience, the lack of bathroom attention communicates negative messages to those very people whom we are trying to impress. Blatant disrespect, disregard for details and unwillingness to even attempt to understand what matters to customers don’t build long-term relationships!
Extrapolating from the analog to the digital world, what bathrooms—important but ignored experiences—have you encountered? Which ones seem hopelessly stuck in the '60s? Here’s some additional food for thought from Xianhang Zhang, writing for Quora: What’s the Difference Between UI Design and UX Design?
Will you join in on Bathroom Blogfest 2010 and create discussion around bathrooms, or any other similarly forgotten space? Isn’t it time for the user experience to become unstuck from the '60s?