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My Dog Remus, His Poop, and User Experience

Dog smiling at camera

Image by Justin Veenema via Unsplash

A picture of my dog with me at a brewery

This is Remus. Always ready for a good time.

One of the biggest reasons I moved into the apartment I live in now is that it accommodated large dogs (doggos or puppers, if you prefer) like mine. Many places here in Eugene may claim to be dog-friendly, but only up until forty or fifty pounds. They aren’t prepared for my 85 pound black lab, Great Dane mix.

This complex actually attracts a lot of young dog-owners. We’re frequently found walking our canines around the block, picking up after them. Convenient dog poop stations surround the complex—green stands that both dispense bags and serve as a receptacle for full ones. It saves me a few dollars a month, I’m sure.

Good User Experience

If you walk your dog with any regularity around here, it’s quickly apparent the stands are serviced on a fairly regular schedule. New bags are refilled and old ones removed by the Monday thru Friday staff.

Of course, this means on weekends, the stations will become more full than usual. Not usually a big deal.

Bad User Experience

Unfortunately, the way this schedule is set, it becomes an issue on long weekends like the recent Memorial Day weekend. By Monday morning, there aren’t any bags left and the receptacle is overflowing with bags full of dog poop. Kind of gross, and less convenient. And there’s still a whole day to go! It’s particularly bad at the receptacle closest to my building, which only holds half the new bags others around the complex do, despite seeming to be more used.

Have you ever noticed that people will point out how dirty a place is, but never mention its cleanliness? A clean home is as it should be, and so no one praises it. A dirty home, however, draws criticism.

Similarly, other tenants and I won’t remember all the days bags were readily available and the receptacle has been dumped. We’ll only remember how the bags were sometimes empty and the can sometimes full.

But Users Won’t Complain

It’s frustrating, for sure. For a few moments, it drives me insane and increases my simmering animosity toward the apartment management.

That being said, I’ll probably never say anything to management about it. I’ll let it bug me, and when my lease is up, I’ll move out. Most people will, for a variety of reasons never disclosed to management. If you’ve ever lived in an apartment complex, you know that they’re pretty much, as a rule, less than perfect. So they probably would love for people to tell them these things!

Bad User Experience is Costly

With all these folks moving out and no idea why, the apartment complex is left with high turnover, leading to a massive marketing budget, units sitting empty and collecting no rent for days or weeks, and the costs of cleaning units over and over again for the next tenants.

But with no one conducting exit interviews or checking in on tenants once in a while, a solution to this problem is nowhere in sight. No one has asked me about the dog poop situation, so I haven’t mentioned it.

This Is a Story About You and Your Website

You and your business are no different than my apartment complex and the tenants in it. Every day, you recognize ways you wish your users and customers would behave that would make your life easier. It may be shopping more with you, signing up for your services, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business. As more and more business and research takes place online, your website is becoming one of the biggest points of contact between you and your customers to start on a path toward these actions.

Instead of tenants moving out, you have customers bouncing off your website and checking out your competitors. You have customers buying less than you know they may need. Your website is a complex series of interactions between your business and your customers, and it’s important to understand them intimately. You must identify the pain points and work to solve them.

Work with Sterner Stuff to Improve Your User Experience

If I’ve instilled the importance of user research in you today, I’ve done my job. If you go out tomorrow and pester your users for feedback, I’ve hit it out of the park. But if you’ve already got enough on your plate, I’ve got something for that, too.

Sterner Stuff excels in experience design. It’s hugely beneficial to a business. Research into user experience on your website can even lead to developments in other aspects of your business.

My apartment complex may not be conducting user interviews, but Sterner Stuff can help you get them in place. We’ll help you talk to your users, whoever they are: customers, employees, and everyone in between. We’ll identify pain points in your website, and maybe even pain points in your business model on the whole, and help solve them.

Contact Sterner Stuff today to learn about our options for user research and experience improvement on your website.


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