How dumb are you?

Posted: August 29, 2009 in General, Usability

I have this thing about packaging. Packaging can be an afterthought, and it’s rare that a company really engineers their packaging (Apple is a rarity here). I think poor packaging can be forgiven up to a point. Sure, there’s an expense involved in reengineering a package if there’s a problem, so it’s rare that a company is going to spend the time and energy to rework it.

Here’s the thing. Your package is your first impression. If it’s hard to get your product out of the package (or even worse, if you ruin the product), then you’re hurting your brand imaging. Packaging is advertising.

Ironically this post isn’t about physical packaging, but about DVDs and movies. Specifically I am raising a middle finger to Universal Studios. On DVDs there are certain sections of the disc that you either can’t skip using the fast forward/chapter skip button, can’t skip using the menu button, or both. You know those FBI warnings you can’t skip. Universal locks out the chapter skip button for the trailers they show at the beginning of the disc.

This is the dumbest thing ever, and they’ve been doing it for years. Ironically they haven’t disabled the menu button, so at any time you can skip the previews and go right to the menu (huzzah). The problem is this: I like the previews, I actually want to watch them. The issue is that if I know I have no interest in the movie (or if I’ve seen the preview before), I want to skip to the next one.

I can’t do this with Universal DVDs, it’s all or nothing, and I will take nothing. So Universal, you’ve failed, and you continue to fail with this idiotic decision. How dumb do you have to be to not want a user to see your advertising? I’d love to hear the business reason behind restricting the chapter skip button during previews.

For my next rant, I’ll complain about the boxes that Rice Crispy Treats come in.

There is no excuse, however, if it either: doesn’t cost you anything to fix the problem, or if you’ve just done a redesign of the package and haven’t fixed the issue. Sure we all know about things like blister packs (why anyone still uses this form of packaging is beyond me).


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