Oct 27, 2008 design
I’ve decided to take a page out of 37signals’ playbook and offer up some design enhancements of my own choosing. The benefit to doing this, is that there’s no liability. No customers to please. No deadlines. No real constraints. Just an open opportunity to brainstorm and imagine “what if?” What if a certain product performed a certain way? How could this be easier?
For my first case, I decided to tackle a Redbox “Rental Selection” screen. I’m a huge fan of what Redbox is doing. They’ve really turned the movie rental industry on its ear. But I can’t help but notice how difficult their machines can be for n00bs (newbies) to use. I believe that a few well executed enhancements would make the whole process faster and easier for everybody.
First, let’s take a look at Redbox’s “Rental Selection” screen as it currently appears. The buttons on the left side are decent enough, but the buttons across the bottom are all the same size/shape/color. There’s no indication as to their function or importance. If you removed the text, you would have no idea which button performed which function.
In my version, the buttons are turned into images which can indicate their purpose. Also, the row of letters make it easy to jump to a particular part of the alphabet (the previous system requires the user to touch the “A to Z” button before giving them an opportunity to choose a letter.)
The horizontal red bar across the top of the screen indicates the current sorting method. Touching any section allows the user to sort movies differently.
Disclaimer: This mock-up concept was put together in about an hour and a half. It is not intended to be a final solution, but simply a better solution. I would never suggest implementing changes to an interface without first testing it with users. One weakness with this first optimization, is that it isn’t immediately clear how to change the sorting method. Some further thought could go into this challenge.