This post has nothing to do with visual thinking. This time it's aimed directly to the warm, fuzzy heart of what we really mean when we refer to "user experience". It's not about how fast we reply, it's not about how efficient our systems are, it's not about the efficacy of our databases and CRM capabilities. User experience is about making our customers feel good about doing whatever it is we'd like them to do.
We got a puppy a few weeks back. That felt good. It was just the breed my daughter had hoped for: a Bichon Frises. That felt good. Everyone was happy: the daughters, the parents, the breeder, the puppy. That felt good. After much contemplation and introspection, we finally settled on a name: Snowball. (He is a Bichon after all.) Yes, that felt good.
I filled out the official paperwork and wrote the check to get Snowball registered with that most august of bodies, the American Kennel Club. Having never had a purebred anything before, it took me a while to answer all the questions and get the papers mailed. In the end, though, it felt good; we're now part of "The Club", I thought with secret relish.
Then I got the response. And I quote...
The dog name you selected cannot be used because AKC has already registered the full allotment of this breed with your requested name.
So that we may continue processing your application, please print a VALID name choice in the space below."
Well, excuse me Mr or Ms. Club-to-whom-I-am-a-paying-member: I need to tell my daughter she can't call her puppy Snowball because that has exceeded your allocation and is therefore an invalid name?
WHAT?? The doggie name police?
Let this be a lesson to us all: we're seeing what happens when an organization forgets that it exists to serve its members, not the other way around. I think I'll pass on this membership, thanks. It seems the American Kennel Club doesn't know much about dogs and why people choose to befriend them. People outside The Bureaucracy, anyway.
I suppose I could be reading too much into this. But it feels good.
* This is not a photo of our Snowball. To protect the innocent, I pulled this photo from the online database of non-valid Snowballs.