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The Power of User Experience

This is a short little post on a UX thing thats been bugging me for a while. I wanted to write it up as a good example of first impressions and how a UX covers more than just UI, but also how the initial UX sets the standard for things to come.

So, this little UX niggle comes from my experience with a Lenovo S8 Tab. I’ve been playing with it for the last six months, initially purchased as a test device, for which it’s been great. It’s biggest flaw however is power. Everything to do with it in fact.

First up when you first turn it on it takes just an age (4 seconds!) of holding the button down — that’s annoying, but you do get a nice little vibrate, when it finally does, in case you got distracted or bored in that time. Then the device gives a Lenovo splash screen and a windows-esque jingle. That may not sound too bad, it certainly reinforces their brand idea. But that jingle for some reason plays full volume every time you turn the thing on AND every time you turn it off. Full volume, and this device does have some good speakers. I literally have to leave the room at night to turn this off for fear of waking my wife or worse the kids. This has even happened with headphones in too, why it sometimes chooses to bypass the headphones is another mystery.

So the whole turning on gets annoying after a while, the rest of the boot cycle taking a good 30 seconds before you get to the lock screen as well. Perhaps this is why turning the thing off is so hard too. You have to hold the power button again for a long 4 seconds and then double confirm you want to switch off, by tapping Power Off and then you get:

Are you sure you want to power off?”

Well, I’ve held this button down for a while now and tapped a big Power Off button after that, and still you ask do I want to power off? Of course followed by an equally long power down cycle, and that jingle!

All this to say you’re left a little frustrated before you begin to really use the device and after a while and a few head turning boot ups in public, you get a bit fed up with the simple process of on/​off, which should be a UX no brainer.

Then to continue the power woes, while the battery itself has a reasonable life, charging the thing seems to require a nuclear power plant. It won’t ever charge from a USB port, being connected to a computer via USB is a net loss in power! Even a direct wall plug has to have a high output otherwise you’re looking at a day to charge.

I admit much of this is compounded by the fact I’m not a heavy user, and because of the hassle I’m loathed to turn it off, which means more charging each time I do pick it up, which means more frustration.

You see all of this is really caused by poor hardware and a small but poor marketing choice on the splash screen, before we say anything about the OS and rest of the device UI. And yet this basic underlying feature’ of power will cause me to look elsewhere for my next tablet.

One simple lesson here is think about your UX over time. A one time experience maybe fine to have a nice, loud jingle, but every start up and shut down? Double confirmation is useful in rare and important decisions, but in common get on with it I’m in a hurry to leave, pack up, (fill in the blank here)’ scenarios it’s a needless annoyance.

Remember User Experience goes well outside of UI design and has power to shape future behaviour and feeling and set the tone for all your interactions.

Hopefully Lenovo can fix that basic part of their device experience in the next version.

Posted on Feb 02, 2016 by Sam Peckham

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