The User Experience Fail-Through

Posted by jgro in Articles

We’ve been thinking a lot about situations in which a failure in the user experience is overcome by an adaptive practice on the part of the user. Usually, these occur when there’s a lag between the design of the experience and the surrounding context.

The best example we’re currently aware of is the signature strip on the back of credit cards. The risk of identity theft has driven a number of people we know–aided by e-mail chain letters titled “An Attorney’s Advice–to leave their signature strips blank. Retail clerks seem to take this in stride, simply asking for supplementary identification.

At some point, our handwritten signatures failed to provide significant authentication, but it was a social change, not a technological one.