The DMV Wishes Me A Happy UX Birthday

I recently had a birthday and to celebrate the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) let me renew my driver’s license. The good news is the DMV was kind enough to allow me to accomplish this task three ways. I could mail the provided form into Sacramento, I could go to the local branch or I could renew online using their website. Now, let’s talk about user experience (UX). Having three ways to accomplish a task is great for the user. So, way to go DMV, bravo.

Out of the three ways what do I choose? I choose online. Hell, I am seasoned UX designer, I got this. No problem. I get to the website and found the renew drivers license information page quickly. Literally one click from the homepage. This is good UX. Anyway, let us get to the bad UX portion. The login page. I have used this website before, I must have, so I enter my trusty login credentials. Login failed… Ok, let me try a different password. Login failed… Ok, let me try another password. Login failed… Damn it. I know I have logged in before. I try different combinations of usernames and passwords. After many attempts. I clicked the I forgot my username link.

Now, I clicked this link and it took me to the new user registration page. The first time this happened I assumed I clicked the wrong link so I went back and clicked it again. Same thing, I was taken to the new user registration page. I don’t want to admit this, but I went back and tried again. As a UX designer I know that users don’t read and I didn’t read the small print under the huge H1 title that said register the first two times, but the third time I did. It said and I quote:

“If you have forgotten your user ID, register again!”

UX failure to notify user of expectation

What! Register again. No. Why? Doesn’t this seem wrong to you? I sat there and looked at it awhile, thinking. Well, maybe this is some security thing that sites do. I still didn’t want to register again so I go back to the login screen and click the other helpful link: Forgot your password? Thinking that my username is probably something I remember and it’s the password I don’t remember. I do have a whole lot of old passwords I have created over the years. The forgot password links takes me to another page titled Account Update. This page has the following information on it:

 UX of the forgot password screen of the DMV

I click the link and it takes me to the new user registration page. WTF. I quickly go back and click the OK button. This took me to the homepage. I go back again. Now, I am completely fed up and I succumb to registering a new account. I proceed to filling out the new user registration form. It has the basics, which I give. I get to the security questions. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but OMG. These security questions are totally stupid. Here they are listed in the order they appear in the select box:

  1. What is the first name of your favorite niece/nephew?
  2. On what street is your grocery store?
  3. What is the name of your high school’s star athlete?
  4. What is the first name of the best man/maid of honor at your wedding?
  5. What was the first live concert you attended?
  6. What is the name of the medical professional who delivered your first child?
  7. What is the name of a college you applied to but didn’t attend?
  8. What is the first name of your hairdresser/barber?
  9. What was the first name of your favorite Teacher or professor?
  10. What city were you in to celebrate the year 2000?
  11. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  12. Who is your favorite person in history?
  13. What is the last name of your family physician?
  14. What sports team do you love to see lose?
  15. What celebrity do you most resemble?
  16. In what city did you meet your spouse/significant other?
  17. What is the last name of your favorite author?
  18. What was your first job?
  19. What is the last name of your favorite sports hero?
  20. Who is your favorite comic book or cartoon character?

All 20 of these questions are absurd and in no way will I remember any of these answers if I were asked the next time I logged in. I do what I always do when asked stupid security questions. I answer all of them the same. Seriously, how f’d up are these questions. Give me a break. This is a joke.

But, let us step back a second. Why does the DMV ask these security questions for if not when you forget your username and password. It can’t be that since I am required to register as a new user. Are these questions for something else? Well, I want to know, so I continue the form, filling in the answer to the security questions with all the same answer. When, I hit the Register button, I got an error. The information provided doesn’t match our records. What! I fill the form out again, double checking my information. Same thing. I am so pissed now. I go back, well maybe all the security answers need to be different. I submit the form one more time with best guess answers to these absurd questions. Same error.

This is when I give up. I tell myself, Jeff just mail the form in. So, I abandoned my registration and crawled into the corner, placed myself in the fetal position and waited for my family to snap me out of this UX hell. Now, let’s talk about user experience. This is one of the most frustrating user experience I have had online. So, way to go DMV, bravo.

Of course, I never did mail the form in. I ended up in the dmv office the day after my birthday to renew my license. It didn’t take long to get processed, got a new photo taken, so that was nice.

Design Explosions: Mapping on iOS — Medium

This article is a must read for all people who work in UX/UI. I would like to see a followup with a comparison to another map app that isn’t constrained to the 1st Party App Design.

[su_panel]Millions of people have done 3rd party application design. If you expand the pool to people who have sketched out app ideas, the number is probably closer to tens of millions. But how many people have designed 1st party apps? Ones that come on the device rather than being a download? I’d wager the number is less than a thousand.[/su_panel]

If a custom control will make your app 15% better, that’s probably not good enough. You should be holding out for ~50%.

via Design Explosions: Mapping on iOS — Medium.

Enough with these damn popup feedback modals

Have you seen this before?


I am so tired of seeing these Foresee Feedback modals popup when I visit a site. Does any one actually participate? Isn’t there better ways to acquire the information that is being asked for? I feel it’s lazy usability gathering at the expense of well…usability.  Why are sooooo many companies using this service?

Please stop.

Continue reading “Enough with these damn popup feedback modals”

Dissatisfaction – Matt Gemmell

All the stuff we make – whether it’s a machine, or a piece of software, or something as simple as this chunk of text – doesn’t exist in isolation. Every piece of output is a symbiont, waiting for its host; one half of a partnership. There’s the thing itself, to be comprehended and consumed, and then there’s the consumer. A thing that hinders that relationship instead of facilitating it isn’t really a valid thing at all.

via Dissatisfaction – Matt Gemmell.

Designing Big Data for Humans (with a Little Help from Hollywood) | UX Magazine

If big data is going to see its potential in the enterprise, we as builders of technology need to ensure that business users can eventually get to a spot where they can focus on asking the right questions and analysis—not manually manipulating the data so that it can be analyzed. Humans have a tremendous capacity to detect patterns and insights in data and can be aided by machine intelligence.

via Designing Big Data for Humans (with a Little Help from Hollywood) | UX Magazine.

Methods to Achieve User Delight | inspireUX

Be Smart

  • Anticipate my needs and be one step ahead of me. It’s unexpectedly nice when a product knows what I’m trying to do before even I do.
  • Use technology wisely to do things automatically and intelligently. Don’t make me do a lot of manual work to get things done.
  • Prevent me from making errors. Don’t blame me for doing something incorrectly. Make resolving problems easy and friction-free.
  • Be smart and figure out what you need to know without making me give it to you. Don’t ask me to give you superfluous information about myself.

via Methods to Achieve User Delight | inspireUX.


I totally agree with the above list. If you can incorporate these suggestions into your product then you are doing your job right. The rest of the article written by Catriona Cornett goes into more UX101 territory, but it is always worth a little refresher  to remind yourself of the things you need to do to be a great UX designer.