I recall Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), that über-UX story teller and master setter of expectations—and VP of the Oracle Applications User Experience team—telling me early on that a useful way to grasp what user experience was all about was to think about the feeling when opening an Apple product’s box and peeking inside.
Jeremy pulled an awesome emotional trigger for me with that example. I immediately empathized. Of course, it helps that the products inside Apple boxes rock too.
I had a similar Apple-like out of the box (OOTB) experience with my first Google Glass. When I opened up that box, I immediately thought, “wow that’s simple and elegant” and “super smart packaging, love those callouts and user assistance card”, and so on. We all know about the various experiences of using the actual device itself… but, let’s be fair, it’s not a prime-time product. Yet.
Opening my (first) Google Glass box.
I’ve now purchased the Misfit Wearables Shine activity tracker too, yes, the original of the glanceable UI species of wearable tech. I’d marveled at the Shine when others showed me theirs, so, of course, I had to have one.
But, the Shine box experience turned out to be a total curve ball for me! First, it took me a while to get the actual device out of the circular-shaped box thingy (looks like something Flavor Flav might wear should Public Enemy ever enter the wearable tech space).
Then, I missed the getting started instructions (hidden on the reverse side of inner packaging). Even after discovering the instructions, I still struggled to transfer the visual guidance about the little tools that come with the Shine to the real world. It was YouTube videos that saved me.
The Misfit Shine box experience. An experience in its own right!
Next, I put the Shine into my new swanky leather wristband, and, of course. I got the positioning of the “12” wrong (the Shine LEDs can also tell you the time - fancy that in a smart watch!). But, could I move the Shine around in the wristband to the “correct” alignment for a quick glance, or even remove the device and try again? Nah.
Some of the issues I experienced might be because I was too nervous to apply a little more force on the Shine itself. But then, why should I have to force anything with a piece of technology, especially one with pretensions to be considered jewelry?
So, two contrasting positions on wearable tech device boxes. Apples (ha, ha) and pears of a comparison, I suppose, but the point is that with UX what happens offline is as important as what goes on online, and it’s little details that can really add up to making your total experience magical, if done right.
OOTB experiences start you out on different journeys, and sometimes your mileage may vary, sure. But you don’t want that initial OOTB experience to be an experience in its own right, but instead to keep you in the moment and on the same journey to actually using the product …
Still, I love my Shine, although the box experience continues to nag me and makes me wonder about other parts of the product offering that I have yet to uncover.
True, some of Shine usage interactions are novel, and that’s a UX aspect worthy of another blog post. That’s coming, but after I have had some more fun exploring my activities with it!