Thursday, October 22, 2015

UX starts at the front door

What's the message you've designed?
No matter how good the customer experience is within your doors, if your customer can't actually get through those doors, everything else is wasted.
I had lunch in a steak house in Milton Keynes yesterday as I prepared for a meeting with a colleague.
I was seated near the window and close enough to observe as potential diners approached the entrance.
I think I could make one, simple, physical change to that entrance and at least double conversion.
In the short time I was there (a little less than an hour) I saw at least 15 people walk up to the front door, try to open it, fail, and walk away.
People rarely see your embarrassment at failing a simple test like opening a door on the internet (so perhaps they try again and again, allowing us to get away with poor online design?). But in the real world, in front of your friends and passing pedestrians on a Milton Keynes pavement, that embarrassment is real and all that you need to prompt you to keep on walking to the next restaurant.
By the time I came to settle the bill there had been so many failed attempts to get in that I felt it fair to point out the issue to the fella taking my credit card details. To confirm my point, it happened to another would-be customer as we discussed the problem. The member of staff dashed off after that one, but they'd already gone.
To put this in context, there were less people inside dining than had failed to get it. Half the revenue was failing to get past the front door.
What, I wondered, makes this door so great a challenge?
The door very clearly states 'pull'. And the instruction is correct. And to be fair, I had managed to get in, hadn't I?
The problem, I think, is that we typically expect an entrance to open inwards. My front door at home does this and, I'm pretty sure from the pov of entering the room, so do the rest of the doors in our home.
My guess is we come to expect doors to open inwards when they are entrances - no matter whether they are covered with explanations to the contrary (signs don't work, by the way).
The episode highlights how important it is to really push out the ends of end-to-end when we map customer journeys. Sometimes you must, literally, put yourself in your customers' shoes and walk it.
So Middletons, my free piece of advice to you today is, change your entrance door to one which opens inwards. You could double your revenue overnight.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?