Monday, March 11, 2013

Usability at Work: Instant Oatmeal

A lot of people ask me what I study in school.  Usually, I just say, "Web design."  But that's not quite right.  What I should start saying is "user experience research."

What is user experience?  Everything.  It's about how you experience the world around you, and for my part, I like to find out how.  How do people use things?  How do people use Web sites?  How do people find information, and how do they process it?  Why do people look for certain information in the first place, and what are they expecting to get out of it?  Are there problems with the way a particular product is designed that makes people frustrated whenever they use it?  What could make the experience better?

Those are the questions I ask in my research, and those are the questions that bleed into nearly every part of my life.  So when I opened my new box of Quaker Instant Oatmeal (maple and brown sugar, thankyouverymuch), I immediately noticed that people had been doing their user experience research.  Do you see the 3/4 cup fill line at the top of the packet?  Quaker turned the natural affordance of a folded piece of paper into a piece of user experience brilliance!  IT'S A CUP!  A cup for people who don't have a measuring cup lying around!  A cup for people who don't want to use their cup for measuring water!  A cup for people who just don't want to bother!

It's products such as this that make me smile.  Maybe I'll apply for a job at Pepsico, maker of Quaker Oats.  :)

Thing I'm thankful for: Don't Make Me Think.  It changed my life.


Blogger Peter said...

How did I not register the fact that you do usability research? I totally agree that we need way more of it, especially on the web.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Ha -- I'm not entirely sure how you missed that, especially since I ask so many questions. :)

Perhaps I never mentioned it???

3:21 PM  
Blogger cardlady said...

Do you still have that book? I want to read it.
You know that has always been one of my things, learning about how things work and always how to make it better.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Momma, I have the book somewhere, but I have to find it! :/ I will, though. For you. :)

10:46 AM  

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