Redesign La Poste vending-machine interface using Design Thinking : a clear demonstration that I AM NOT my users
Have you ever tried to go to a Post office during a major public transport strike and ask users questions about the automats? OK it might not be the first item on your bucket list…. but you could be surprised!
The goal was to improve the self-using machine in a Post office.
Funny fact is that I actually took this specific example in one of my articles when I was asked about bad design in daily life: https://medium.com/@pedelfly/3-good-and-3-bad-design-in-daily-life-ironhack-ux-design-prework-26d92df50c4. I thought it would be an advantage to have a personal experience on these machines but was it really?
Before running interviews we sat for a moment with the team and tried to empathize with La Poste users and we used our own experiences to get these 4 assumptions about the machines :
1- Slow interface
4-Services offered by machines not clear
We managed to find an open post office and we finally reached our users. With the strike going on this Post office was pretty crowded and when we started asking questions to the users I have to admit that I was expecting a bit of resentment.
But I was wrong.
We managed to speak with 5 users and they were all really nice with us. They were really keen on sharing with us their comments and we got plenty of smiles. I think I would have been personally fed up in this kind of situation but our users were not. If they were happy to share in these conditions we can assess that it is the case for most users in most case of UX design process. Good to know.
What struck me was also the gap between what we observed VS what people told us. Globally they spent huge amounts of time on the machines and had major issues understanding the way it worked but when we asked how they felt using the machines : “Oh it was OK, it was easy!”
Rethinking about that gap I think they were a bit ashamed not handling the machines correctly AND they were in an hurry going home… two good reasons to say “Yeah everything was perfect!” (meaning : pleeeease I got it, now let me go!)
Anyway our assumptions were refuted:
1- Slow interface : Users said NO (some spent very long time though)
2-Unclear interface : Users said NO (some did major mistakes though)
3-Unhuman : Users said NO (because they got assistance from a very helpful guy of La Poste)
4-Services offered by machines not clear : Users said NO
OK fair enough but
The answer was simple : focus on real pain point directly from our users. And they all agreed about something that could seem very small at first but since it came from most of our users we decided to stick to it. Basically the pain point started at this screen :
People just wanted to quickly finish their purchase and were blocked by pop-up screens:
Anoying AND misleading if you listen to users!
In green below we can see observations and in orange actual answers from users. The pain point that clearly stands out with 6 stickers both from observations AND answers is about these pop-up screens.
That’s why we made our problem statement about this phase and we redesigned it in order to keep the actual services of La Poste while stopping pop-up screens.
We used a Crazy8 for ideation and we ended up with solutions to upgrade current experience while keeping what people liked. We ended up with a lo-fi prototype very focused on the final phase.
Our lo-fi machine :
With lo-fi wireframes :
To help people stay focused we basically simplified their choices and kept options available for additional services without using pop-ups. We also highlight the basket section so that people have a better view of the purchasing process and the total price of their basket.
The impact of this redesign would be a decrease in miss clicking, a faster user flow with less click and an increased satisfaction about clarity of the interface.
We also thought about a next step : to help simplify the helping process. We observed that some people (especially elders) were needing help when using the machines and didn’t know how to ask for it without losing their session. We designed a feature to help them in that case :
A diode that would turn on in case of problem (similar to the ones in the supermarkets automats). As simple as that!
This redesign process helped me get the best lesson I could get : to understand your users problems the ONLY way is : reach your users!
When I think back I am not even sure having a personal experience with the machine was good for me, maybe it was even misleading. We all live very different experiences with every products and services we daily use and it is very dangerous to use your own experience and apply it for all the other users!
More to come during the next weeks :)