Tag Archives: user experience

uxWTF experience design challenge #1 — CVS receipt reDesign { please }

okay, okay, okay — for those of you that might personally know me in some way from the UX and Design Community, and by know me i mean really know me, you’ve probably heard me rant on about the real reasons why i am a user-centered designer

most people outside of the profession simply assume that all designers have this wonderful and delicate appreciation for elegant design in the world and that their passion and motivations lie somewhere within the logic of thereby wanting to design and bring to life newer designs as inspired by Bauhaus, clean and minimalist typography or by some self-delusional thinking that our contributions as designers in modernday society will somehow make for a greener, more peaceable and liveable planet

sorry if this sounds like a loaded way to re-introduce myself here for you — i don’t mean to sound hostile or pessimistic or negative in any way, believe me — i’m actually quite a lighthearted and humorous person in person, if you know what i mean — but i want you to understand MY reasons for being a designer, which i don’t think are too atypical, but they’re definitely not reasons most designers typically discuss in such a public forum

i design because i am constantly frustrated

yep, there ya go — i said it out loud { or as loud as you can get in blogPost format } — i’m frustrated, constantly frustrated: with the way the world is; with the horrendous design of just about everything we encounter in life; with the ridiculously backwards and twisted way everything seems to be better designed for The System, for information and data, for Machine-to-Machine Communication and Interaction { or M2M if you wanna get all TLA on that shit }, but not nearly even remotely designed for human consumption, use or participation

so, here we go — no real fantastic segue, fade or transition here to help move into this next concept, you now know my personal and professional motivations as a user-centered design professional and performance artist — they’re actually quite political reasons to do what i do, but let’s not get into that now, aight?

right now i want to talk about an idea that came to me recently while taking care of business in a public office restroom { this is where i get my most brilliant ideas, as funny as it sounds, in the handicap stall while sitting on the porcelain throne } — thinking about these frustrating experiences i keep bumping into out there in the world, i tried to figure out a way i could actually make discussions like these more consumable, more relatable and — most importantly — more actionable

i mean, how could i inspire other people to work with me in some collaborative capacity to actually redesign these horrifically poor and annoying experiences even if there might be no actual paying project on the books, even if there is no real financial reason to tackle these vital worldly challenges, even if the ONLY potential motivation to change these experiences is simply embedded in the very human need to show off what real, innovative design thinking can do to improve and better optimize our universal human experience and to hopefully become ubiquitously famous through these public, humorously expressed issues and processes to show people how to actually change the world

i mean, i’m talkin’ Steve Jobs level shit here — just without all the asshole politics and multimillionaire nerdy swagger of ‘The Genius’ bullshit we’re all led to believe about iPod Man

and it all starts with this concept

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let’s take a look, in blog serial format, at a list of these frustrating experiences through user-centered investigation and photodocumentation and see if we can’t put our heads together and fix this shit

its not that difficult people

its really not

and i’m here to help ya

let’s start with this one, this little uxWTF? design challenge:

the CVS receipt reDesign

now, to be completely fair here, this is NOT solely a CVS-related UX offense we’re talking about, right? we’ve all experienced this at NUMEROUS retail consumer establishments — it just so happens, though, that i’ve been picking up my meds a lot lately { thank gawd, right? who knows what this post’d be about without ’em ;] } and this similarly strange feat of cash register magic recurs like fucking clockwork with each and every transaction at the CVS Pharmacy and even at the front counter { not sure on the Photo Lab area, though, let me know if you can verify this same phenomena happening there, too }

let’s take a looksy

here’s what the CVS Pharmacy Technician handed me at the register before wishing me to, ‘Have a nice day’ …

look familiar? this receipt — and i kid you not — this receipt is almost as tall as i am

that’s ridiculous

its just fucking ridiculous

what a waste of the life of a sapling

and you know what? i never ever use the coupons on these neverending receipts — never

i bet someone takes advantage of the remarkable savings provided by Consumer Value Stores, but i personally think the benefits or value i get from these veritable partystreamers of savings do not in any way outweigh the environmental cost or just the frigging paperwaste nuisance of these amazing little lengthy souvenirs i collect from each trip to the national chain convenience store

i used to actually save these receipts and scotchtape them together to write on the eventually handmade collaged side of my frankenpaper sans ink — but c’mon, seriously? seriously?

so, uhm, i don’t know — i recently downloaded and started using the CVS smartphone app on my android mobile device, and i actually think the app would be a far more appropriate delivery mechanism for these additional CVS membership savings — could be nicer, right?

a LOT nicer

i mean, we know they’re tracking our every purchase via the app or our CVS loyalty card much-like any supermarket, department store or other corporate chain of transactional wonderment, and i think it would be the very least they could do for us — let’s get smart, now, aight? — THIS might actually be one of the best potential implementations for those semi-bizarre and overused / misused QR codes { QR = quick response, in case you weren’t already in the know } — i mean, it might be superCool and magically fantastic if the entire CVS members rewards savings systems { and that of other similarly national chain-like corporate establishments } all somehow leveraged the app or the card, right? but at the very least, bring out the QR codes, print ’em right on the receipt, and then it might be, i don’t know, 6 inches long at the most { mostly now depending on just how many items you purchased from the store, not how much psychosocial data-driven stalker suggestions they can spit back at you } — i mean, we don’t need to memorialize last Tuesday’s purchases from the pharmacy for any real reasons as average American citizens now, do we? in fact, the printed proof is in some ways an actual privacy liability that could potentially break patient confidentiality { but maybe not, i’d need to actually read my receipt to see what’s listed for my recent pharmacy purchase }

on another note — and this is something i am just DYING to see happen in the very-near future — i would also love to see these apps and other store membership systems that track our every micropurchase behavior actually provide our data for US to usethe government sees my data, stores and financial institutions see my data, Hell, even offshore agencies working for credit card and other similarly skanky organizations most likely have more access to my personal transactional behavioral information than i do as the user of these systems, as the actual supposed member of these systems { whatever that means to me at this point, right? }

show me the data!

i think its about time to better empower the people through the access and flow of our data

and its also about time that we start turning the tables a bit and actually get paid for sharing our data with these organizations — why do we so willingly sign up for these services that basically steal our information and use it for the big consumer feedback loop for devious subliminal purchase suggestions from The Man { in a rather loose and corporatey collective sense of definition } — i mean, i know i know, we willingly sign up for these services and give it all away for free, like the utter dopes we all are — but c’mon, let’s get it back, let’s take back what’s rightfully ours and what should be ONLY ours unless we make a little jing in the deal — and i’m not talking about this beautiful, easy ‘giving back’ gesture we receive upon receipt, this paper streaming printed register tape of coupon savings, i’m talkin’ about actually gettin’ paid

pay up bitches!

you want this? you want this data?

pay me

storyFirst

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as with most of the concepts i come up with — i am flooded with ideas, raw direction, so much intent, and then i typically register a domain name, attempt designing the first iteration of a logo and put together a landing page to claim my new turf

i equate it to the modernday animal domination of mental property on the subconscious market

sometimes the investment is well worth it and the page i create blossoms into a blog or smallish web site — the initial concept evolves and moves, it comes alive either through further visual thinking or through writing down my near-daily thoughts on that particular and typically invented subject

at other times i realize my property purchase is a fixer upper or maybe a subtle spin-off of someone else’s idea, and i either work on it or i don’t, it becomes a dead end of the interwebz or a tiny root-like germinated seed of an idea in slow motion, not fully developed but just waiting to grow { but in dire need of food, water, soil and sun }

the term or phraseology storyFirst originates from Dynamic Media Institute at Massachusetts College of Art and Design

i really don’t know yet where i am taking this idea, but here’s the gist and the backStory for storyFirst

Jan Kubasiewicz { sometimes known as Jan Kuba } developed an assignment as an improvisational evolution of work from previous weeks in the DMI Course Design for Motion, Time and Sound — in this week’s workshop session, our teams were to take the work done to-date and start up again from scratch, focusing on putting the story first this time

what’s your story? was also a question i recall Jan asking me several times at reviews each semester — he wasn’t really looking to string my projects together in a more cohesive manner so much as he was trying to figure out why anyone should give a shit about my project work, my research and ultimately my design

and this became a very important way of looking at the entire body of my work, at examining my process, the materials i choose to work with and the very reason why i research using both critical reading and visual design methodologies to actively understand my terrain

i think i registered the domain name for storyFirst around the time that Joe Liberty, Andrew Ellis and i collaboratively designed and fabricated the embeddedStory System for MassArt Made — i think i understood back then on some sort of subconscious level how important story was to my work and to my research in cyberSurrealism

but it wasn’t until i read Luke Wrobelewski’s recent book Mobile First that i felt the full-on inspiration to write a book about using story to drive design in a new way — i want to use story as a means to drive my professional design work and also a means to design and redesign my life { and the lives of others }

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now, i’ll be the first to admit { since we’re in a safe place here and i know you won’t just give away my little secret to just anyone, right? }, i tend to have issues with figures of authority — its almost a built-in mechanism, something i’ve only discovered through deep psychotherapy and self-reflection — i know that my satiric and humorous demeanor, my uncanny ability to ‘make fun’ out of just about anything, literally comes with severely scrutinizing the philosophies and actions of others and then trying to articulate what i honestly think and feel about well-established and revered pillars of practice and thinking

but i want this project, as much as it is inspired by my gut negative reaction to the Mobile First mantra and movement, i want storyFirst to become something of its own — i value some but not all of the thought that was put into Mobile First, i don’t necessarily believe its as practical and realistic a methodology as its advertised to be { i mean, how many clients can you convince to restart everything with a mobile experience as the filter to every single design decision you’re going to make across every extension and experience related to the brand of an organization? are corporations even that unified and organized to begin with to get THAT much buy-in and work in some harmonious, collaborative way to actually go Mobile First everytime? } — i don’t even think my most recent thinking about storyFirst benefits clients, prospects and corporations as much as i hope to benefit real people, and specifically designers

i believe that people — as natural human organisms — always strive to make meaning in the world — in fact, i believe that meaning itself doesn’t actually exist on its own in any way and that people, families, villages, societies and ultimately the symbiotic entirety of our macro-organic civilization create fictions and fact and rules around what these meanings are all about

we own a personal story,everyone of us — we can tell stories from memories, from episodes of our past and bring those stories back to life in conversation, in photographs, in dynamic media, in dance — and then we can imagine stories for ourselves and others, we can project what we think our lives can be or we can also dream up what we actually want our lives to be and then we can tell that story to ourselves and others — and then through user-centered design processes, confounded and delightfully weaved into the fabric of storytelling and retelling and actively pursuing these stories we create, we can design our lives — as individuals, as families, as villages, and as a global society

a little utopian, i know — but unless we strive for the impossible we will never achieve the dream

we may fail, and i believe right now we live in a time that manifests far more of a distopian twist on the original promises made by dreamers of progress and technology from the 1940s, 50s and 60s — but we need to follow the story, we need to follow the story a LOT more carefully and adhere to the benefits originally enmeshed with the original stories

i hope i can do this idea justice — i hope i can adequately tell the story i envision behind putting storyFirst in design and in life