Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Panic Button Usability Case Study

Tuesday night I stopped at HEB for some groceries. On my way out, I noticed that a car alarm was going crazy. As I passed the offending auto, I noticed that the doors of this shiny new Honda Fit were open and that there were two women inside. I decided I would offer help if the alarm was still going after I deposited the groceries in my trunk.

Sure enough, the alarm continued. Looking at the two women, I felt fairly certain they weren't car thieves. I smiled at them and gestured as if to ask if I could help. The passenger smiled and shrugged back, so I walked over.

The driver was flipping through the Fit's manual, clearly looking for a way to silence it. I asked if I could offer help. "Do you know how do I shut this off?" she asked.

"Do you have a remote control?" I asked in return.

"Yes, right here." She raised a tiny box.

"Did you accidentally hit the red panic button?"

"Yes, I tried pushing it again, but it won't turn off." She demonstrated and the horn glitched as the alarm sequence started from the top.

"Try pushing the unlock button."

And the horn finally went silent.

"Thank you. We hit the red button and the lock button, but we didn't think to push the unlock button."

"No problem. How do you like the car?"

"I like it a lot. It's very nice."

It actually did look pretty nice. "Cool. Have a good one."

No comments: