Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wegmans: Design For Use

My favorite store to go grocery shopping in is Wegmans. They make the experience from parking to checking out a good one, consistently. They have a place you can drop off your kids to play in while you shop and lots of high quality foods you used to have to go to specialty stores for. When you are done shopping, the lines for checking out are always short. If a cashier doesn't have anyone on their line, they walk out to the front of the conveyer belt to let you know they are free and to happily greet you.

One thing that caught my eye in the produce department last week was one of their scales to weigh your vegetables or fruit. It's self-serve in that you get the produce you want, put it on the scale and out pops a bar-coded sticker for your bag. This one scale had been used so much, you could tell a lot about what keys were used more than others. You didn't have to do a complex study to see that most produce has a 4, 6 or 0 in its code. They actually begin with a 4 most of the time, which is probably why it looks like someone has shot a hole through it. To make these machines last longer, could Wegmans create a bit more number equilibrium on these codes? It's interesting to note that just like on web forms, the poor old "clear" button doesn't get a lot of visitors. If it is the least used, why is it the largest and most vivid color?

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