What is a great user experience?
The answer to this questions depends on the user, the product being used and the point of use. For me, I'm squarely in the middle of Generation X. I'm busy, overcommitted and always on the go. I like my entertainment, and I like my multitasking. I'm obsessed with making the most of my time, no matter which activity I'm engaged in at the moment. So killing two birds with one stone appeals to me, as does not adding an additional errand to my schedule.
redbox Movies was a great user experience for me.
Here's why this experience worked for me, the quintessential Gen Xer:
- Right there, at point of use, just when and where I needed it
- No cash required
- Initial rental took 30 seconds
- iPhone app was free and easy to find
- iPhone app gave me the info I needed when I needed it
- No extra time or trips required
- Return took 10 seconds
- Return could easily be combined with an essential errand: no extra time or effort required
Here's how it worked for me:
After a long and exhausting experience at South by Southwest Interactive, TSA lines had got the best of me (and most other passengers--this photo captured about 20% of the line), and our flights left without us as we waited in the hour-plus-long security lines. An excellent gate agent was kind enough to book me on a later flight on another airline, but there was a snag: no in-flight wifi (so I couldn't work), and I'd already watched the movies I'd brought with me.
What was I going to do on the flight?
As I walked to my Dallas gate on my first layover, I saw one of those redbox kiosks. Why not? I touched the screen and saw the option of renting any one of a number of movies for a dollar a day, returnable at any redbox movie location. I know I'd seen them around town in Seattle, so why not? I selected Sunshine Cleaning, a quirky little movie I'd intended to see in the theaters, swiped my credit card, paid $1.08 and went on my way.
At my layover in Salt Lake City, I was curious to see if I could return the movie there. How to discover? I turned to my iPhone, did a search for "redbox movies" and downloaded the free application, which indicated that, while there were no kiosks in the SLC airport, there were a number of them within walking distance of my home and office. I tagged the closest one to my office, selecting one inside a grocery store (since I needed to restock my larder after seven days on the road, anyway) and headed out to the local QFC at lunch.
Return was a breeze. I'd selected a convenient location and combined it with an essential errand, so it didn't seem to take any additional time. At the kiosk, I hit "return a movie" on the touch screen, inserted the movie rented in Dallas, and walked away.
redbox knows its market.
- They know their users can download movies for free, so they're not going to pay $5 to rent a movie.
- They know that their users like entertainment during travel, so they set up in airports.
- They know their users won't invest in renting a movie unless it's dead easy and saves them time, so they keep their locations to errand-based high-traffic areas.
- And they know their users have smartphones and use them to get most of their common information, so they created an iPhone app for finding locations and reserving and returning movies.
Brilliant. It works like marketing should: make the experience so easy and convenient that it doesn't feel like marketing; it just feels like part of life.