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Stupid Usability #59

Locked Out

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 7/7/2014

From the mind of Jared Vander Hook, Consultant at High Monkey:

This past weekend I found myself locked out of my car while on a camping trip. It was not a result of user error, i.e. carelessly locking my keys inside of the car or misplacing the key. It was a result of the lock malfunctioning. That in itself isn’t necessarily stupid usability, but it is stupid usability that when my 2007 Honda Civic is locked it only has a single access point, i.e. the driver’s door. So when that lock stopped working, the entire car became inaccessible. A single mechanical feature failed on my car, an amazingly complex mechanical system, and the entire car had not only become useless, it became a prison for my camping gear.

Luckily we had roadside assistance. They were able to locate someone specializing in breaking into cars (i.e. a tow truck company) and about an hour later my car had been successfully broken into and my camping gear freed!

You might be thinking, this situation is extremely improbable and not really stupid usability. While I agree that it’s improbable, good usability is about anticipating situations and providing users with an out. Inevitably there will be single points of failure on an automobile, such as the engine, but something insignificant like a door lock should not be one of them. Simply including a lock on the passenger door would avoid a single point of failure and make situations like this 100% less likely to happen.


Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 7/7/2014 12:00:00 AM by Brian Haukos | with 0 comments