New User Experience Failures

Yesterday I arrived in Toronto for the start of a two week visit with family. It was great to see people here, but I ran into two major new user experience failures during the day. I’m recording these here as case studies for others to reference. The first is from Koodo, the second Xbox.


Dear Koodo,

Congratulations on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! I really liked Telus when I used to live in Canada, so I figured I would go with Koodo for a prepaid card while I’m in town visiting my family for a couple of weeks. I hadn’t even looked at anyone else’s options, I just went straight to the closest Koodo both. When I got to the Eaton’s Centre I was told that they could sell me the package, but not actually activate it. For that I’d have to go on the internet. Let me pause for a second to point out how stupid this is: I’ve just arrived in the country, I got to you to get access to the internet, and you tell me that I need access to the internet. Fortunately, there’s wifi in the mall. So I start trying to activate it using my phone’s browser over wifi. No joy. Not only did your site suck on mobile, it got stuck trying to show me the list of locations I can use. It just failed to render a correct dropdown box. After trying to 10 minutes with the rep at the booth, I gave up and asked for a refund.

On the flip side, I went over to Virgin Mobile and was up and running in minutes. Not only did the rep set everything up for me, but I got more service for $40 than what I would have gotten for $60 with Koodo.

To summarize, you literally had an customer in yours hands, I’d given you my money, and you failed to even activate the service. I’ve now gotten great service from Virgin, from whom I’ll be doing my business in the future and recommending all of my friends. I’d suggest that if you want to continue being a mobile company that you offer services that work for people who are actually mobile.


Second in the theme of terrible new user experiences: I bought an Xbox One yesterday. It looks amazing, and I’m soooo looking forward to playing with it. It would have been really nice to do that last night. Unfortunately, not only it take forever to set up, it was difficult to understand even what I was doing. I’d heard that the PS4 was easier to set up, but this was just bad. It asks you to log in. To an account that most people who don’t have an XBox don’t have or probably don’t use. I certainly hadn’t used my Microsoft account in ages, probably the last time was to log in to MSN Messenger years ago. Passwords on a video game controller? Stupidly painful. Why not log in on my phone and authorize it that way? Or use a QR code on my phone?

So I finally logged in to my account after resetting the password. And then it thought I was a child. Despite telling it that I’m an adult. After googling around, I logged in to Microsoft’s site on my phone and set up my profile there, and then went back to the XBox and logged in again. Finally I was logged in to the XBox. So where are the games that came with it? There weren’t any discs in the box just cards. Turns out you have to navigate their menus to “Use a code” and download them. Very not intuitive.

There was a very pretty video about how awesome the system is. But no guide on how to actually use it for someone who’s completely new. As far as a new user experience, this was a pretty dismal failure. I can see people returning the system as unusable if given the same experience. If it wasn’t for the Kinect (I’m one of the few people who really want it), I probably would return it and just get a Steam box.

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