Design for Error Handling and the Unthinkable

Daily UX #4

If you didn’t already know, Samsung has been recalling their top-load washers in the past few months. Okay, maybe 97% of you guys didn’t know that because you either don’t wash your clothes or wear jeans for 365 days a year.

Long story short, my dad recently went through a Samsung product recall process, and it was frustrating for him to say the least.

After registering the product online and sending personal info to Samsung, they replied shortly with a personalized email that contained a link to a page. The one-pager provided my dad with two options: a technician would come in and repair the machine, or a partial refund (about 40% of the MSRP).

The email arrived yesterday, and my dad saw the following page:

He selected the radio button beside “Free In-Home Repair”, and clicked Submit. This popped up:

Great. It’s all confirmed.

My dad proceeded to do the unthinkable. He clicked the ‘X’ on the top-right to close the popup, clicked on the radio button beside “Rebate Program”, and clicked Submit again. The same, identical reference # popup as you see above, appeared. This was when my dad panicked, and had to contact Samsung immediately to make sure that the intended selection was made and communicated to the Samsung HQ.

But this is what could’ve been improved. There’s no blurb saying, “You can only choose it once, so choose wisely”, or “You can change your decision anytime before Dec _____, 2016”. Instead, it caused unrest in the user, and additional live chat support (which was money Samsung could have saved). If this recall affected thousands of people in North America, imagine how much frustration, time, and resources this has caused because someone didn’t think through the experience?

Customers are already dazed with the thought that their appliance may explode any moment, and are also given the double-whammy with a lacklustre experience when trying to find a solution.

Design for the unthinkable. Test your designs. Create solutions, and not more problems.