The UX of the Carwash

We had a UX team exercise today, where we tried to redesign the car wash experience. It started with a picture of a completely dysfunctional UI.

carwash

Funny, isnt it?

Then the team all designed alternatives.  My mind wandered to my feelings about the car wash experience in general. As a kid, I remember going with my mom or dad.  It was like a strange trip into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  All of these noises and tentacles slapping the windows.

I remembered this scene called the Wonka Wash.

I didn’t want to make the car wash user interface streamlined. I didn’t want to make it fast.  I wanted to make it LESS fast.  I wanted to make it steam punk with a giant lever you pulled into position to start the car.  I wanted a giant rubber hand to check if your window was shut.  I wanted colors and noises and a kaleidoscope of sensory input. I wanted the kids to say, “Dad, can we PLEASE go to the car wash?!”

People often mistake what UX is all about. It’s not efficiency.  It’s not intuitiveness or usable.  It’s about love.  Its about fun. It’s about remembering things as wonderful delight and not just task completion. It’s about human psychology and the experiences we keep with us.

I HATE the car washes where you get out of the car.  The one near my house is like this. It makes me sad. Design your next project with this mind set and you might surprise yourself (and your customers) in how memorable and fun your tool can be.

 

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