Curiosity rewarded the cat

Friday, November 20, 2009

Good user experience is often found in the most unassuming places. We have a new restaurant opening in my neighborhood this week and I’ve been anticipating their arrival for a few weeks now. They officially open today but two days ago revealed a very important lesson in user experience.

Two days ago I was walking down the street this new restaurant is on to get lunch from a neighboring location. The lights were on and it looked like people were ordering and eating inside before their scheduled opening. This of course caught my interest so I took a closer look. The door said something like, “Pardon us while we get ready for our grand opening. We hope to see you this Friday.” For some reason I ignored the sign and went in anyway. I was greeted by a hostess asking me for my invitation. I had no invitation and said, “sorry, I’ll come back Friday.” She quickly said, “that’s okay, join us for free lunch tomorrow and bring a friend” and she handed me two invitations.

Don’t punish curiosity, reward it. This is a great philosophy and something we should keep in the back of our minds when designing user experiences. I didn’t walk away from that situation feeling stupid because I ignored the sign that clearly stated they weren’t open yet. Instead I walked away excited to a) get to try this new restaurant a day early and b) get a free lunch. It was the kind of first impression any product or service should want to make.