The video we looked at in class the other day really intrigued me. I found this blog post and thought it was quite interesting, as it seems to elucidate some of the designer’s intentions. In my blog post, I will analyze the artifact this way.

http://blogs.cisco.com/borderless/the-future-of-shopping/

Summary of their blog post

There is a blockquote at the top talking about how important customer experience is. Then, a list of the reasons Cisco outlines for rationalizing this device’s (potential, future) existence:

Video: “Seeing how garments fit in real time while you’re moving is only possible in a video-optimized network with capabilities such as media monitoring, bandwidth optimization, and auto-configuration included in Medianet.”

Cloud/virtualization: “Reducing the cost and complexity of supporting multiple technologies such as augmented reality and point-of-sale applications by consolidating them into virtualized servers is key.”

Security: (this is all about monetary transactions)

My critique (based on designer intention as presented in this blog)

First off, their blog post opens with a quote on being customer-centered, which I assumed was meant to set the tone for the rest of the post. And indeed they do address this in one paragraph:

Imagine being able to shop virtually from anywhere much more quickly and efficiently. No more crowded, clunky dressing rooms, or trawling racks of jumbled clothes in a sprawling megastore. No more changing ten times to find the perfect color combination. Simply scroll through the menu to see an unlimited amount of inventory in one place, and see how it looks on you virtually using the latest augmented reality and network technology.

But after that the entire thing turns hardware- and business-centered. “Seeing how garments fit in real time while you’re moving is only possible in a video-optimized network” is just plain wrong. I mean, obviously you can just put on a new outfit and move around in front of a mirror, can’t you? And I as a customer couldn’t care less if my fancy electronic mirror updates to the Cloud or to a laptop under someone’s bed. I just am not seeing how that’s customer-centered.

I was in the “User” group during the class discussion Thursday, and one thing we brought up was the fact that the entire clothes shopping experience with this device is visual. The designer in fact seems to be acknowledging and even embracing this. The fact that customers can’t feel the fit (or the fabric against their skin) doesn’t even come up. Why would the designer neglect such an important part of the clothes-buying (and wearing!) experience? Who cares how quick the network moves data if you can’t even feel how you move in the outfit?

That said I do understand the nod to the “sprawling megastores” and taking forever to change clothes. Honestly, I hate clothes shopping because of this myself. Trying to beat the crowds is irritating. It’s extremely time consuming and not fun for me to try on 10 different things in order to to find anything that fits me comfortably.

However, I question how quick this device really will make the shopping experience. Even if you try on a million color combinations, what if you find clothing with a texture that you can’t stand to wear? Then you’ll have to just try on new clothes again anyway. Clothing isn’t just about the look, it’s how the clothes feel on you, and more importantly how the clothes make you feel to wear. If it’s light and flimsy, I’d probably feel afraid the wind would blow up my skirt (or something).

tl;dr

The problem with clothes shopping isn’t only that it takes forever and you have to deal with crowds of people. You also have to find clothes that you’re confident wearing and that flatter you not only in looks, but also in the way you feel as you move and in the way the fabric feels to you. The blog post claims the design is customer centric, but doesn’t take into account the full customer experience and then starts talking about how fast and secure the transaction itself is. I think it misses the mark, and am disturbed that they give a perfunctory nod to UX and then kinda half-ass it. It makes me feel that we as UX designers have a long way to go in advocating for ourselves.

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