Changing User Experiences in Mass Consumer Environments

In this video I look at changing the experiences users/customers have in mass consumer environments (i.e. fast food restaurants) and the decisions faced in implementing those changes.

This video has been a bit of a test for an idea I have of actually going out and finding experiences, recording them and discussing the good the bad and the ugly. I would love some feedback or suggestions on this concept.

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27. August 2010 by Aaron Irizarry
Categories: Design/Development, User Experience, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. They had one of these at a Taco Bell in Huntington Beach about 15 years ago, without all the “remember me” settings. I thought it was cool, but it did frustrate a lot of people who don’t embrace technology the way our generation does.

    Walmart, Target and some grocery stores offer both options (Fresh and Easy forces DIY), which I believe all stores and restaurants should have until nobody is choosing the lane with an attendant.

    Just my opinion anyway. Great post Aaron!

    • I remember the Taco Bell kiosks! I used one in Placentia, but I guess they didn’t catch on.

      I like DIY way more as long as the interface doesn’t have any glaring oversights (a jfk kiosk with “how would you like your hamburger? med rare -> well done” didn’t include veggie patty which they actually offer).

  2. I believe that enforcing this new experience is actually a good thing, because the elderly will often be reluctant to try it out, and therefor you can’t get a good view on what people think about it. Because it just got implemented, everyone “has” to use it, and you will get a ton of feedback. If you then use that feedback correctly you’ll be able to make an awesome product, in my opinion.

    Love the idea of the “vending machine”-style counter, as well as the fact that their employees will have more time to chitchat and appear “human” rather than the standard “what can I get you. that’ll be x $ please”.

  3. I like when companies do that sort of thing, but I definitely feel that it should be eased in, because if it’s not, then you actually wind up waiting even longer.

    I think Stop n Shop (not sure if they are a nationwide grocer or not) but out here in NY about 5 years ago, implemented 5 checkout lines where you scan your own groceries in. So for those that only have a few items, it’s quick to do. Then about a year ago, they implemented a system, where you pick up a scanner on your way in, by using your shopper card, and as you walk through the store, you scan your items in. Then when you get up to either the cashier, or cashier-less counter, you just scan the “register” and all your items get processed and then you pay without having to take them out of your cart. Me, being an early adopter of tech, I jumped all over both as soon as I could. I think both these have totally sped up the process for some, but for others, they still like the interaction of the cashier. I’ve been behind newbs, where I’ve helped them out in using any of the methods. But it’s nice to have a fallback if you have something funky from the bakery or deli and not really sure, or confident about ringing that up yourself.

    Easing is the best way to go, rather than forcing it down your throat. I think you lose a lot of customers if they get too frustrated with that sort of thing.

  4. Shows that UX can certainly impact ROI!

    This makes me think of the Chipotle app—you can order from the comfort of your own home and take as much time as you want. A few Sundays ago I ordered via the app, took my time getting out there (about 10 minutes away), and was able to jump right ahead of the long line and pick it up. Great shopping experience.

  5. Really interesting post. That’s a very cool experience, thanks for sharing – and the video imagtes are great. I have a couple of thoughts.

    First, I think the forced usage may be a good decision. Big change like this ofter requires the squezzing of other, more traditional channels to drive activity. If the company has determined this is necessary strategy to achieve some operational efficiencies, the wholesale change is fast way to get there. Of course, in an indusry with so much competition, it can be dangerous. It could be that it changes the demographics of their clientele, and that may be intentional as well.

    I would be surprised, though, if the staff you saw walking around are still there a year from now. I suspect they will phase that out, if this is a true efficiency change, and have just a few people in each location, backed up by a bank of remote IT people keeping the machines going.

    I wish we had the franchise here in Canada so I could check it out.


  6. Force that mother….. We as people tend to move slowly towards innovation without good incentive’s to embrace change. For our elders it was WW2 forcing women into the workforce or more currently with the BP spill giving Kevin Costner some hope for his wacky inventions. Given a choice even I would choose the familiar or the perceived “comforting” option, take those options away and I am forced to adapt and rely on my survival instincts.

    I feel the abruptness really wakes us up to what we can really accept and accomplish. Like Hannes said “you will get a ton of feedback” testing is one thing but direct consumer interaction really sets the bar.

  7. Interesting video. First of all, I miss El Pollo Loco. I moved to the East Coast. BUT there is a chain of gas stations in NJ that does a very similar thing with the ordering process:

    I don’t think they talk about it on their website, but when you order food, there is a kiosk machine. The first time I did it, I didn’t know what to do. i walked up to the counter, completely missing the machine and the guy behind the counter didn’t make eye contact. I thought it was extremely rude, then I saw the machine and figured it out.

    I think I experience a mix of emotions. I was left with a rudeness feeling but also a ‘how cool is that?’ feeling. Now, I think it’s a neat process, but people still need to be personable.

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