Choices on mobile apps (also on any app) need to be worded appropriately so as not to cause any confusion in the user.
This menu option on a sleep tracking app seemed to be a clean way to do it. A simple line that explains each option when selected.
What’s the worst that could happen with poorly framed menu options?
Back in 2007, I got my first credit card. And the one I would default to even when I had more cards. Over the past 13 odd years, I suppose the card company and I benefited from the service.
Then sometime during the pandemic, RBI laid down new rules for debit and credit cards, making users manually opt-in for availability of different types of transactions (online, POS, international), and set limits for the same. I downloaded the mobile app this bank offered. However, I faced 4 challenges with it:
The way the choices were worded created some ambiguity (on whether we had opted in or out of a choice)
Touch selection was slightly glitchy, you sometimes had to click more than once to select/deselect
If you changed any card limits, you would receive an OTP to confirm the changes
There was a delay in receiving the OTP. Every time.
These four challenges together, created quite a frustrating experience. As you firstly wouldn’t be aware if the option read a choice you wanted to opt for, or the opposite. And to check it, you would have to go through the motions of generating an OTP, confirming changes, and then seeing if the change reflected what you wanted, or the exact opposite.
The result. I stopped using the card. For starters, simply because the choice options created a confusion in me, and verifying each one of those choices took a longer route of glitchy clicks, waiting for the OTP, and then waiting to see what change had occurred.
If you can’t phrase choices in an easily understandable manner, something simple like the explanatory sentence or two for each choice would go a long way in retaining former loyal customers.
“What makes America so much more entrepreneurial and innovative than India?” That question has been in my head for many years now.
Obvious recent contributions including Facebook, Tesla, and the immortal giants, Google, Amazon and Apple come first to mind. But the world we live in stands witness to enduring American inventions – the airplane, credit card, transistor, laser, the computer and internet; with hundreds of inventions in-between.
Firstly, contrary to popular belief, the US is not the most innovative country in the world. They ranked 5th in 2015’s Global Innovation Index by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Results by other bodies too put them in a similar ranking.
Two factors seem to distinguish them from the rest. They are perennially innovative across all fields of work. And, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in the veins of its masses. For nearly two centuries, it has been one of the most fertile environments for creativity and innovation. This has resulted in the most brilliant minds from the world over to steadily gravitate to it. To Innovate. To Create.
YouTube (albeit American), is filled with the ingenious creations of their average people. Remote-controlled cars, planes, and numerous vehicles and even other unimaginable contraptions built by average individuals like you and me. What makes them impressive is that they aren’t built out of a kit, but using even scrap or materials found around the house. And their customer experience practices have delighted and inspired the world, and set global benchmarks.
So while we can brush-off some inventions as exceptions; what explains the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of the common American?
In my quest to find something that the average American might knowingly or otherwise be doing differently to induce this trait, I quickly concluded it had nothing to do with their super-sugar coated cereals or microwave dinners. 😀
Heredity too didn’t seem like the answer, given the large mix of world population that goes in and out of the US. So how do they maintain a consistent level of creativity even with the influx of foreigners? Is something happening in the background, that nurtures creativity levels?
‘What else are they doing, that subtly but consistently fuels creativity?’
I felt the answer might lie in the power of the right brain. We know the right brain is the seat of creativity. And which in turn controls, and is stimulated by, the left side of our body. So are Americans doing something differently, that might be stimulating innovation?
But they comprise only about 10% of the world population.
So, assuming a normal distribution of left and right handed people across the world, 10% Americans aren’t conclusive proof of their general creativity. Even if that 10% included the left-handed John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Bob Dylan, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Tina Fey. Because, for each of them, there have been other innovators, creative people and entrepreneurs who are right-handed. So while left-handedness might give one an edge, what explains its considerable prevalence in the other 90% too?
Still stuck on the right brain and the left side of the body, there seemed to be sufficient studies concluding that when right-handed people use their left-hand more, it tended to improve general creativity. To what degree, is a great topic for a debate at another time. But if using the left side more fuels creativity, is there something Americans do differently than Indians, that might help?
Then a possibility struck. Can their driving give them some edge in being more creative? As absurd as it might sound, read me out.
Right-hand traffic countries tend to have left-hand-drive cars, and in turn, use their left hands more, especially for continuous adjustments of the steering wheel. Opportunity to rest the elbow on the side of the door makes that a preferred hand from comfort and proximity perspectives.
But that would mean that 65% of the world should on average, be at least slightly more creative than the others.
So then the only remaining variable would be –how many people in each of those countries drive regularly? That brought me to the vehicular density of countries. Here too, the US seems to have the edge (whether for the good or not). It has the 3rd highest motor vehicle density in the world; that’s 797 vehicles per 1000 people! The first two spots are taken by San Marino and Monaco. Both of whom seem irrelevant to our discussion, given that these city-states have populations under 40,000 people. This makes the US the largest nation with the highest vehicular density. Contributors are the lack of a developed public transport systems outside of major cities, and cheap fuel. This results in Americans driving cars for everything from buying groceries from nearby, to traveling to other cities and states.
So is it possible, that frequent use of the left-hand while driving, in a country with the highest motor vehicle density, contributes to their innovation and creativity in general?
Honestly, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know if driving of left-hand-drive cars is ‘the’, or even ‘a’ contributing factor at all, to explain their creativity, innovation or entrepreneurial spirit.
However, in the absence of other conclusive factors, doesn’t it beg another look? Perhaps autonomous cars will help observe change if any?