Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Access should be easy

I was in Menards the other day and feeling lost. I normally shop at Home Depot. It was new for me, but it's a hardware store. Some things should be easy.

When you're looking for shower heads, you go to the bath aisle. When you're looking for fasteners, you go to the fastener aisle. You might need to noodle around for a while, but you never need to leave these aisles. Home Depot gets this.
Menards actually has multiple fastener aisles. Oh, you need a washer for that bolt? Well that's in the next aisle.
Access should be easy.

  • Departments (web pages, dialog boxes, features) are not places where you go and wait for help. They should be places where you go to get things done yourself.

  • Put the help where the people (users, customers, eye balls) need help. Not at some hard to find base, web page, or dialog box.

  • Putting an elevated floor in a big-box store (hiding features in unknown menus) is neither an efficient use of space nor innovative. It's just confusing and impossible to get to with your cart. Don't change things in the name of innovation. Strive to meet expectations and solve problems. Sometimes this leads you to innovations.

1 comment:

  1. Well stated. I find Menards to be terribly organized, and the poor signage doesn't help.RE: Elevated floor...I agree that unless it's done right, it's a missed opportunity to sell to anyone with, say, a wheelchair, or a child in a cart, or some other condition precluding their climbing a flight of stairs. I have seen it done right, though, in some large grocery/home goods stores in Prague and Berlin. Think, IKEA-style escalators with a separate track for your cart, or cushy moving walkways set on an incline. (Also key to the "doing it right": Employees on rollerblades to make price-checks a breeze!)