Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gas Station Arco AM/PM

It is odd how a poor user experience can infiltrate day-to-day decision making. I didn't used to have any preference for one gas station over another but the bad experience of getting gas at Arco AM/PM stations has indelibly etched itself on my mind. I had to use one yesterday because I was so low on gas and the bad experience etched itself deeper.

The bad experience has many levels:

- firstly the 'smart pay' center is far from obvious. Yesterday the person at pump 7 was putting cash into it and I was waiting my turn to get pump 8 ready. It was not obvious when the previous transaction was complete and in fact, the guy in front of me had to return to the machine to finish something before I could start. This situation always makes me feel like I could end up paying for someone else's gas.

- the design of the 'smart pay' machine itself isnt too clever. The intructions are not very clear. In fact, at each 'Smart pay' center you can see this. The machine instructions include images of the buttons you should push. Many people push on the button images in the instructins rather than the buttons themselves. You can see this because the image of the buttons in the instructions is warn away. This is a kind of desire line (PDF).

- as the transaction gets underway I am disappointed to not be able to use a credit card.

- as I proceed with my debit card I am further disappointed by the transaction charge of 0.45c

- the design of the pump itself is further annoyance. With a completely empty tank yesterday I had trouble filling it and had to constantly hold the pump to the car. This is very un-American. I've grown used to putting the pump in the car, setting it to fill and going off to clean my windscreen as the car fills. You can't do this at AM/PM pumps.

You perhaps wouldn't think that poor petrol pump experience could be bad enough to have etched itself into my mind so that I avoid going the again. If Arco fixed this problem tomorrow I wonder how many years it will be before I lose the poor association with their brand.


"Reverse Osmosis Water"


What possible purpose does this sign serve? I imagine most people don't know what "Reverse Osmosis Water" is. If it's drinking water why not just say that? The only reason I can come up with for the obscure label is that people perhaps walk away wondering what it means and ultimately find out and so learn something. But when I'm getting a glass of water all I really want to know is whether it's safe to drink

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Welcome to the new TED website

OK, throw out your TV, you no longer have time to watch it. Check out the new face of TED in the form of the all new TED.COM. You may even see my profile on there somewhere.

TED is the place to see the most important people of our time talking about what is important to them. Check it out.