I watched the water come into our finished basement during Hurricane Irene. I don’t believe it—not again, I thought, as my husband and I quickly prioritized which of our remaining belongings from the last flood, only 17 months earlier, we wanted to salvage as the water rushed in. Thirty minutes later, the water stopped rising at four feet—a foot higher than the last time. My husband cautiously turned off the circuit breakers and determined whether the water had reached the gas line. I was seven months pregnant, so could help only by asking our less-affected neighbors for some assistance. The following weeks were all too familiar: filing a claim with our insurance, calling remediation experts to dry out the basement, calling plumbers for quotes to replace the hot water heater and boiler, calling electricians to replace outlets—the list went on and on. Throughout this entire experience, all we wanted was to get our house and lives back to normal. Read More
If you’re like me, you have a mini-library of those user experience books that are most meaningful to you. No, not the ones hidden away on your eReader, reminding you of their presence only when you see their titles on the screen. Rather, I’m referring to those tangible books, sitting on your office bookshelf or on a side table at home. Perhaps some remind you of the time when you first entered the field of user experience, wanting to absorb everything about the topic. Or maybe everyone raves about a book as being seminal to the user experience discipline, but you keep the fact that you’ve never read it a secret. Regardless of why you have them, where they live, or how much you recall of their content, these books are important to who you are as a UX professional.
I’ve recently finished reading what is now the latest addition to my own professional mini-library: This Is Service Design Thinking, by Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider, and numerous collaborators and co-authors. This book is likely to become the quintessential service design textbook for students, educators, and professionals alike. In this column, I’ll share highlights from the book, along with some of my own interpretations, and tell you why you should add this book to your own personal collection. Read More
Each of the states in the U.S. has a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that is responsible for handling diverse citizen needs such as personal identity cards, driving permits and licenses, and registrations for vehicles such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats—both commercial and personal. One of the most common interactions between people and their government is with their DMV. Everyone has to interact with the DMV at some point in his life and, more than likely, these interactions occur annually—whether for registration renewals or violations, if you drive like me.
What’s notable about the DMV is that people across the U.S. think it’s one of the most miserable customer experiences they’ve encountered. When you tell someone, “I have to go to the DMV,” the response is universally, “Oh, long groan, I’m so sorry…” and an empathetic pat on your shoulder. Few things cause a citizen more angst than preparing for a visit to the DMV. No matter how sure you are that you have got the right paperwork, have followed the right process, and have brought the right means of payment, you always have this nagging feeling that something will go wrong. While you might think that adding the human element to the experience—DMV employees—would conjure up a feeling of relief, the opposite is actually the case. You’d likely approach an employee of the DMV in much the same way Dorothy approaches the scary Wizard of Oz—with timidity, apologizing all the while, and being prepared to be yelled at. Read More