Category Archives: UX Design

The night is dark and full of terrors – I think!

What can software testers learn from issues people had while attempting to watch a recent episode of Game of Thrones.

Can you see this ok? – from “The Long Night”, Episode 3 Season 8 of HBO series Game of Thrones

This weeks episode of Game of Thrones saw the long awaited Battle of Winterfell. This was going to be one of the biggest battles in TV history, with some speculation that it may even exceed Lord of the Rings Battle of Helms Deep. There was only one problem … some people struggled to see it.

With an episode titled “The Long Night”, it is not surprising that the episode was going to take place at night. Some darkness was to be expected. However, fans of the show were expecting to at least be able to ‘see’ what was going on. There have been complaints that some shots, particularly early on in the episode, were so dark that it was impossible to tell what was going on or who was in the shot.

Blame for this has been placed on several people – the cinematographer, HBO and even the fans themselves. Why the fans? They must have not been watching the episode in a super dark room, on a big enough television, which was set at the optimum brightness settings. Yes, lets blame the very people that the program is designed for.

Game of thrones is a TV series. Fans should not have to watch the episode on a cinema screen to get full enjoyment. There also appears to have been a failure to recognise the change in the way people watch TV programs. The rise of catch-up TV means many choose to watch the show on a tablet or mobile device. It is a challenge designing something to be used on a range of devices. Fans who watch the show on mobile devices should expect a drop in quality. However, they should not be completely ignored.

Some have argued that Game of Thrones is a form of art and it should be shown the way the designers want it to be shown. Great, if the designers want people to be adjusting their TV sets instead of enjoying the episode. What is the point of art if no one can see it?

When testing software, I try to keep the end-user in mind. We are designing products for them not for us. We want the user to have a positive user experience, to get value from the product. What use is a piece of software if it cannot be used? The user may not be an expert, or even have a high degree of computer literacy. The user should be able to launch the software and use it in a way that they expect it to work.

With Game of Thrones, the end-user expects to just switch on the TV and watch the episode. A similar expectation exists for software applications.

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Pizza Delivery: Importance of Good UX Design

Today, on my drive to work, I was listening an episode of ‘The good, the bad and the buggy’ podcast – specifically the episode titled ‘Food for Thought’. This episode focused on the way technology has influenced the way we order food.

It has occurred to me that where I choose to buy pizza is more down to the quality of the online website than the quality of the pizza itself.

A lot of people will have heard of the well-known pizza restaurant Dominos. The pizza they sell there is pretty good, but I’ve always disliked their range of side orders. I’ve found them overpriced and lacking in choice. Dominos is also generally more expensive than other local pizza restaurants.

There was this local pizza restaurant in the town I went to university. The pizza was delicious, and the prices a lot more reasonable compared to Dominos. However, when a Dominos opened up in the town, I started getting my pizza from there instead. Not because of the quality of the pizza, which I’ve already stated was inferior to the other local pizza restaurant. Dominos had a really good online ordering system. It was so easy to use, even if you had a complicated order that required like extra pizza toppings. A pizza of my choice could be ordered in minutes. It even had a tracker saying how long it would be before my pizza arrived.

This improved the user experience so much that I preferred to order my pizza from Dominos. The introduction of a good online ordering system has helped improve their customer base, and their profits. It shows how much value can be gained from investing in technology as well as pizza.

Companies are now relying a great deal on developing technology to boost sales. Technology can be used to improve the product or service they well. However, there does seem to be more focus on user experience. Happy customers are more likely to return and spend more money.

Image taken from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net