UX lessons from ice-cream
In response to a tweet from @jansru, commenting on the ludicrously of some of these ‘What we can learn about UX from <some random thing>’ posts that are flying around the internet. (Here’s a sample if you’ve been living under a rock and not noticed them. UX lessons from: a car, Jay-Z, children, James Bond, fencing.) What will they come up with next? UX lessons from ice-cream? Challenge accepted.
What can we learn about UX from ice-cream?
Adaptive design - you’ll notice the ice-creams you can buy from a petrol station vary to the ice-creams you can buy at the beach. Service station ice-creams are designed to be eaten with little concentration, just one hand and have wrapping designed to avoid mess. Therefore allowing customers to easily eat them whilst driving. For instance Calippos and Cornettos At the beach however you’ll find ice-creams designed for enjoyment. For instance 99s. They’re difficult to eat without making a mess and require concentration but eating one feels like much more of an occasion Thinking about the type of ice-cream you buy in supermarkets, this has been designed for use in the home. Customers can scoop portions and distribute in bowls, making sharing as convent as possible. What does this teach us? Design products based on where the user is, when they’re using it and what they really need at that time. You’d never find a 99 machine in a service station.
Understand how customers use your products - supermarkets sell cartons of ice-cream with three flavours in. This product likely came about because some research was done that found customers were buying multiple cartons of different flavoured ice-cream and serving a scoop of each flavour as a dessert. The three flavoured ice-cream completely suits this customer requirement and customers are happy to pay a premium. Hence teaching us to use analytics and user research to understand how people actually use products and adapt the design to better support them.
Set expectation - thinking about those ice-cream chests, the selection of ice-creams is shown on sign with pictures and prices. Customers can see the range and price of each product before opening the cold chest and finding the ice-cream they want to buy. This teaches us, that before we ask users to make a commitment, signup, purchase we should set their expectations of what they can expect on the other side.
Location - let’s have a think about ice-cream vans. You’ll always find them by beaches, outside schools, driving around housing estates. Basically they park themselves wherever the people are and where people expect to find them. What does this teach us? Put stuff where people expect it to be so they can easily find it. Signin buttons on the top right corner of the website, reviews below product details.
There are probably more, feel free to tweet me and I’ll add them.
That’s what we can learn about UX from ice-cream.