31 common UX design problems for monsters
No it’s just a coincidence that it’s Halloween this week and we’re publishing a spooky themed article – we were going to do it anyway, it just happens to be ready now and we have a gap in our publishing calendar.
And anyway if you think that testing websites for monster/vampire/babadook accessibility is somehow a joke, well then you have A LOT to learn about this ghoulish world and you’ll be the first to get eaten by a furious Blob who can’t use the Dominos app because the developers didn’t account for its amorphous, jelly-like thumbs.
So, in order to not further infuriate the dream-demons, possessed dolls and C.H.U.D.s of the world – and for the sake of our children, college sweethearts and best friends played by minor character actors – let’s see if we can make the digital realm a better place for them with this list of common UX grievances, which designers should bear in mind from now on otherwise they might get their faces eaten off.
And please remember that every monster’s experience is different. Just because the It Follows entity can use City Mapper pretty expertly, it doesn’t mean a hell-beast wouldn’t struggle.
Okay let’s start classic. EVERYONE is familiar with Count Dracula’s tragic tale, winding up in Whitby all broken-hearted and very thirsty after a long journey, but little is written about the vampire’s plight trying to book a hotel room last-minute with little in the way of online banking or rudimentary 3G access.
Let’s tick off the major issues a vampire encounters…
- Creepy long fingernails make swiping and pinching a mobile screen a farcical endeavour
- Creepy long fingernails are very distracting to fellow office workers when typing on a desktop computer. That’s why very few vampires are hired in modern organisations.*
- Mobile devices are difficult to store when transforming into a bat
- Light sensitivity means they can only use Twitter in night mode
- They avoid any images or screensavers involving the sunset, because these are just taking the piss
*Apart from the vast majority of payday loan companies.
Although UX issues typically occur for the average werewolf only once a month, it’s during that one full-moon bathed night that a werewolf desperately needs quick and easy access to his favourite websites and apps – tube line info, zoo finders, butchers opening times.
Here are a few things UX designers need to remember for our furry fingered pals.
- Large fonts are necessary, as a werewolf’s eyes are bigger than its belly.
- Information needs to be delivered quickly, as slobber will render any device unusable after 30 seconds
- Werewolves would also appreciate it if any cached search history can be automatically wiped as soon as dawn arrives, so they won’t be reminded of what they did the night before
- Perhaps an automatic notification for nearest TopShop would also be helpful, post clothes-ruining transformation
Everyone knows that the classic Romero zombie – slow, shambling, wearing a suit – is the real-life canon zombie, not those super-fast terrifying ones, they’re just a work of Hollywood fiction.
So what do you need to be aware of when designing for zombies?
- Limited motor skills
- Limited awareness of surroundings
- Limited speed
- Insatiable appetite for brains proves to be a singular, unwavering focus, so there may be difficulty in gaining traction if your website has nothing to do with brains or the real-time availability of more brains
If encountering a frankenstein, or in fact many frankensteins, remember to run into the nearest room with limited headroom. And yes maybe the doctor who created the creature is called Frankenstein, but it’s entirely likely that his progeny would take the name too, if not the same career path. Sure there’s more money in a medical career, but it’s not as much fun as being a rampaging accidental murderer who doesn’t know their own strength.
- Has own power supply, which is handy but can easily short-out a wirelessly charged iPhone 8.
- Created from at least 5 different personas, so very tricky to market to
- You could invite frankensteins to network with other frankensteins via some kind of exclusive messenger app or dating service. Frankensteins are basically just lonely and misunderstood, so it’s safer for us all if we get them all hooked up
- Powerful fear of pitchforks and flaming torches, so, uh, don’t include anything like that?
Also know as Imhotep, so as to avoid any confusion when the cursed Ancient Egyptian high priest walks through a playground and a child screams “Mummy!” Remember kids: if you require the attention of your mother, scream “Mummy” and if you wish to alert the relevant authorities that a bandage-covered necromantic is shuffling towards you and your friends, scream “Imhotep.”
- As Imhotep was knocking around 1200 BC Ancient Egypt and likely only knows Coptic, any interface used will have to include a fairly sophisticated and comprehensive translation function
- Bandages get in the way of touch and swipe interfaces
- Plus there’s all that dust and sand.
- Basically we’re talking about some kind of voice assistant that knows long-dead languages or a chat-bot that is cool with hieroglyphics. IF ONLY there was some kind of modern, popular form of hieroglyphics that everyone uses to communicate instead of stupid and pointless words and sentences!
Although clowns feel misrepresented by the hugely successful documentary ‘It’, you’ll no doubt cross the street to avoid one coming towards you ‘just to be safe’ but will be perfectly fine with inviting one to entertain your child’s friends for a birthday party.
- Clowns can only travel in massive groups in comically tiny cars, so car sharing apps have to offer new services and enforce a 12 clown minimum per vehicle
- Clowns would like to be constantly updated on local McDonald’s locations. Don’t ask questions, just give them the information and maybe they’ll leave you alone
- For UX designers, it’s worth nothing that clowns respond favourably to bright colours, simple shapes and a child’s fear
Don’t be ridiculous, ghosts don’t exist.
OTHER LESS COMMON MONSTERS
Let’s round-up the less frequent monsters and look at their niche requirements:
Freddy Krueger: Can only use stuff if accessible in teenagers’ dreams, so if your teenage child isn’t dreaming about the iPhone stocks and shares app, then I’m afraid Freddy won’t be able to use it.
Toby the demon: Big fan of connected devices as it allows him to control kitchen equipment remotely from an app in another room, but as he’s an ethereal being he largely has to rely on gestural interfaces. i.e. wave a hand to open all the cupboard doors; or give a big thumbs up to drag a screaming child down the cellar.
Creature from the Black Lagoon: Huge strides have to be made in waterproof technology before anything can be remotely useful to a gill-creature.
Body Snatchers: You won’t know who’s using your product, so analytics data will be useless. Just know that you can trust your friends and family, and everything will be fine… just go to sleep okay. Yeah that’s it. Here, drink this warm milk…
Sadako: For the love of god, why would you let her near a screen??? That’s the last thing you want to do!
Happy Halloween everyone!
Christopher is the Content Marketing Manager for EMEA, which basically means the skipper of the good ship ‘UserZoom blog’. So far his requests for changing its name to the ‘USS-erzoom Blog’ have been rightfully denied. In his spare time, Christopher is a filmmaker and the editor of wayward pop culture site Methods Unsound. He used to be the deputy editor of Econsultancy, editor of Search Engine Watch, staff writer for ClickZ and features editor of CMO.com.