UIEtips: What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative?

Jared Spool

June 12th, 2013

In this week’s UIEtips, I explain what makes an experience innovative.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Everyone assumed the old way of long lines was how you did it. They built their stores with dedicated space to accommodate the lines during busy periods, such as after the holidays. Apple’s new approach meant their architects didn’t need to build in that space, letting them put it to other uses, such as product displays.

Here’s the thing: Apple didn’t invent making an appointment. Yet their approach to using it for customer service seemed completely innovative.

Why was that? If we want to produce innovative products and services, there are lessons to learn from what Apple did.

Read the article: What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative?

How have you created innovative experiences? Tell us about them below.

One Response to “UIEtips: What Makes an Experience Seem Innovative?”

  1. Brigham Pendleton Says:

    Interesting article. Only issue I see is that, unless Southwest has changed how they do things since I last flew that airline, then they don’t really fit with your analogy.

    What Southwest has actually done is to innovate backwards from your argument. With their system, they do nothing to reduce waiting in line, and to a degree, add more layers of confusion.

    With the traditional airline experience, you essentially have an appointment with a particular pre-set seat. Your are lumped into seating groups, and when called, you wait a short bit while people filed onto the plane and you went to the seat you knew you had… but with Southwest, they keep the standard organization tactic of seating groups, but they take the appointment out, and replaced with a first-come, first-serve way of doing things. When you finally enter the plane, you still have to then do the shuffle and scramble to claim your own seat. Kind of feels like the old prospector days, claiming your plot of land. The only “order” they enlist is by grouping folks into batches, that then have to wait in line, only to shuffle around the plane and find a seat.

    In my opinion, they haven’t improved on that part of the experience at all. Lets say you’re traveling with a friend/spouse/kid, there is a chance of not getting seats next to each other, and that could quickly become problematic or annoying.

    So, I don’t really see Southwest as being innovative in the way you mention. But where I do see they have been innovative is the way they construct their company from the ground up, employing (religiously, so I hear) a no-asshole policy, and thus keeping a happier work place. By creating a happier work place, you create a happier workers, thus a happier experience, and a happier company to deal with. They also are innovative by figuring out a way to reduce the cost of flights, on a scale other airlines cannot seem to match. They are more flexible, and don’t hit you with all those fees like other airlines. So, in those ways I do believe that Southwest is very innovative.

    As far as the Apple innovation to schedule a time, like you say in your article, if they are on time, and gain a reputation for being fairly prompt, then yes, this is a GREAT thing. But if they perform such as what we as a consumer expects based on life experiences (aka dr’s appt) and make us wait and wait still, even after we have a pre-set appt time, then it would very much backfire and Apple would not look like they are innovating at all…

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