Listening to a CNET podcast today, I learned that Amazon's new "Unbox"
service commits a few faux pas - and arguably some unpardonable sins -
in how it interacts with users.
Amazon Unbox, a video download service, does the following:
-Requires users to download a media management and player application.
-The application sets itself to start when you start Windows - without
asking the user's permission.
-The program doesn't provide an option to not start with Windows. (You
have to manually configure your system to prevent Unbox from starting -
a skill that is beyond the average user.)
-Even when the application is prevented from starting with Windows, it
launches a service and tries to phone home.
-When the user attempts to uninstall the program, Unbox requires the
user to provide their Amazon username and password before permitting
Windows to uninstall it.
Now, no sane interaction designer would intentionally design an
application to behave as rudely as Unbox evidently does. I surmise that
this poor behavior arises from the misguided desire of product
management to always ensure that the application is available to the
user, as well as the desire to collect as much user & system data as
possible. (I've witnessed both these desires in organizations I've
My questions to the list:
-What tactics have you developed to defend against treating the users
(and their computers) poorly?
-How can you in the role of experience designer most effectively educate
and influence your product mgmt, marketing, and engineering teams so
that they don't make bad decisions about the user experience?