Southwestern Discomfort

user-useitQuick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usability, "Can I use it?" the sub-category of Consistency often does not get the attention it deserves, in turn leading to more confusing, more frustrating, less Usable products.

Evaluation of Consistency covers the assessment of recurrent expectations as they are impacted and shaped by the product’s content (or wording), interfaces, and layout. Expectations that result from the type of web product and its market (inter-product, rather than intra-product) have greater impact on the Recognition variable.

Today, we will look at an example of an Internet product with Significant Inconsistencies, representing a Consistency value of 0.

Example: Southwest Airlines

00_southwest_homepage

Southwest Airlines’ (Southwest) web product presents an experience that starts with a Significant Inconsistency on a major element and concept…

…booking a flight / travel.

The Consistency variable is considered to be valued 0, Significant Inconsistencies, if the web product has inconsistencies on a majority of minor elements or any inconsistencies on major elements, e.g. an inconsistency on an informational website’s primary navigation.

Both options, ‘Book Travel’ and ‘Book A Flight,’ lead the user to initiating a search for travel choices. Both options are labeled very differently. And interactions with either result in different methods of configuring the desired search. Both means of initiating the search path, primary elements on a travel website, are surrounded by entirely inconsistent product experiences.

Clicking on ‘Book Travel’ results in…

01_southwest_book_flight

…a very compact form, familiar in structure to many of travel websites. With elements such as ‘From’ and ‘To,’ as well as ‘Depart’ and ‘Return.’

Clicking on ‘Book a Flight’ results in…

02_southwest_book_travel

… a significantly more complex interface than is presented by ‘Book Travel.’ You can accomplish the same tasks (in a much more complicated manner) here as you could have done on ‘Quick Travel,’ but with no logical, consistent connections between the two options. Furthermore, when looking at this form, it appears completed unrelated, almost as if originating from a completely different website, to the ‘Book a Flight’ form – both geared to getting you to purchase airline tickets for use on Southwest Airlines.

Over the next several weeks I will be providing real-world examples of Consistency values…

No Apparent Inconsistencies (value 1)

Minor Inconsistencies (value 0.5)

Significant Inconsistencies (value 0)

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Usability and Consistency of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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About Jeremy Horn

Jeremy Horn is an award-winning, product management veteran with 2 decades of experience leading and managing product teams. Jeremy has held various executive and advisory roles, from founder of several start-ups to driving diverse organizations in online services, consumer products, and wearables. As founder of The Product Group, he has created the largest product management meetup in the world and hosts the annual awarding of The Best Product Person. Accelerating the next evolution of product management, Jeremy acted as creator and instructor of the 10-week product management course at General Assembly and The New School, and mentoring at Women 2.0 and Lean Startup Machine (where is he also a judge). To see where Jeremy is now check him out at (1) http://linkedin.com/in/TheProductGuy and (2) http://TheProductGuy.com

4 thoughts on “Southwestern Discomfort

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