Self-Congratulatory UX Better Back It Up: A Starbucks Whiff

self-congratulatory-uxConversational tone can help make a digital experience more user-friendly and fun. A lot of designers and content developers choose to give their programs a personality and use plain everyday language to reinforce a sense of approachability. Sometimes this manifests as comments like “This won’t take too long,” “It’s fun–we promise,” or “Wasn’t that easy?” But if you’re going to adopt that self-congratulatory angle–patting yourself on the back for a simple and fun user experience–you better deliver. Here’s a recent case where Starbucks did not.

I had to reset my password because I couldn’t remember the old one for my app. I also couldn’t reset the password via the app because it wanted a username from me. I don’t think I have a username, but there was no option to use email address only or ask for a username reminder. So, computer it was.

I went through the process of getting the reset password link and then struggled because the password requirements were pretty complicated. I found them especially complicated for a site that yes, does have my credit card on file (to fund the app payment), but is generally not in possession of important personal information the way a bank or health system might be:

That's a lot of password requirements.
That’s a lot of password requirements.

Finally, after FOUR TRIES, I managed to select a password that met the requirements. Then I literally laughed when Starbucks followed up with this confirmation screen:

Oh yeah, so easy.
Oh yeah, so easy.

If you want users to perceive an action on your site as easy, it’s more effective to actually make it easy than to try this kind of Jedi hand-wave magic after the fact. No, Starbucks, this was not easy, and I’m already dreading when I have to do it again.