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Why Currys made me think about the UX of our services

Sitting on the bus the other day, I picked up a copy of the free newspaper – the Metro. The outermost pages were an advert for the electrical retailer, Currys. It was a really nice ad that was essentially selling the user experience of technology. I took it back to the office to share with the team and challenge them to think about our services. I recommend you try it for yourself.

Currys have changed tack, clearly. I’m not surprised, given the challenges that bricks and mortar electrical retailers have faced in recent years, as so many purchases are now made online. They’re marketing the in-person buying experience: It’s not about the technology, it’s about what the technology means to you.

“This is not a toaster, this is a hot breakfast for the kids in 2 minutes flat when you can’t shoe-horn them out of bed for school. Again.”

Photo of part of a newspaper page, including the toaster image and text: "This is not a toaster, it's..."

Part of the Currys advert from the Metro newspaper

It’s an interesting approach. I wonder whether it will pay off. Their television advert continues in the same vein.

The Currys “We Start With You” TV ad

My challenge to the Website Programme team

What it certainly did for me was prompt a challenge my colleagues using their phrasing structure – “This is not a…”

I pinned the ad on the wall in our kitchen, along with some sheets containing our website service personas and blank speech bubbles. I’m interested in what the team think our Content Management System, our events, our training and support services are to our customers.

A couple of minutes’ thought while the kettle boils is enabling us to share our thoughts and perceptions of what we’re here for and what our customers across the University want from us.

The wall in our kitchen at the Website Programme office, displaying the newspaper advert and notes added by the team

I challenged colleagues to express our services in the form: “This is not a…”

Talking about this with University web publishers

I took this story to our last meet up of web publishers from across the University to challenge others to think like this. As with most user research activities, it’s so simple but so fundamental.

Sharing our perceptions of our customers helps us all to hone a shared view of what we’re doing and why. This is something that is so easily forgotten in the day-to-day hectic rush of running internal services.

Slides from the University of Edinburgh Web Publishers Community session – “This is not a…”

Web Publishers Community wiki pages – previous presentations and upcoming agendas

How about you?

Could you express your website or service in this way?

Leave a comment and let us know whether you gave it a go. Did it make you think any differently about what you’re trying to achieve?

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