Bagaar Unleashes Interface Inferno, User Inyerface

Thursday, August 1, 2019
Michael Zunenshine

It’s frustrating when things don’t work out. But it’s doubly frustrating when they don’t work out on a computer (and triply on mobile). 

Why is that? Well, in the physical world, you can vent against people and things with your full bodily range of gestures and expressions. But online, you’re reduced to the tiniest hand gestures, leaving you feeling more helpless and ineffectual. 

Shout and slam the desk all you want, that chatbot or online form just don’t care.

Gladly, the online experience has greatly improved, especially with things like sign-ups and log-ins.

We warned you

But... If you’re brave (or bored) enough to be reminded of how hellishly mouse-thrashy a UI can be, then go ahead and sign up over at User Inyerface. We dare you. 

Before you think it, No! We are not dropping a total hater hit-piece review. User Inyerface isn’t a new product or service, but something else: a game, an experiment, a lesson in what not to do in sign-up design and overall website UI & UX.

Bagaar your attention, please

You could call it a neat bit of publicity for the Belgian IoT firm Bagaar. They design and build custom products and apps to facilitate data sharing between smart machines and humans. 

While this Inyerface UI stunt is getting all sorts of attention, it might actually be future Bagaarians they’re really after. When (if?) you complete the sign-up, you arrive at the site’s career page. Good luck.  

The sign-up challenge

Who knows how exhaustive the list of every single niggling detail those Bagaar folks schemed up. Half the problem is, you’re trying to fix (better: solve?) one thing here, while other random stuff goes on there, and pop-ups do… well, what pop-ups do.

Below is an edited play-by-play of our plight through interface inferno. But we ain’t giving away every hard-won tip.

The play-by-play

First things you notice, the narrow green font on a blue background, a nausea-inducing logo, and a big button that says “NO.”

Then you get this: “Please click HERE to GO to the next page.” Guess which one you have to click? Your mouse cursor won’t seem to work anywhere.

Once you figure it out (we won't give it away) you’ve reached password setup. Passwords must have 10 characters, one capital, one numeral, one letter from your email, and one Cyrillic character (we had to copy and paste for that one). 

For email, there’s a drop-down menu for a domain, and of course it’s missing .com.

Of course, there’s a pop-up time counter, timing you, judging you, making you nervous and more likely to keep messing up. And good luck looking for the close button there.

T&Cs, oh boy! Not only does it force you to scroll way, way, way down to re-accept every time you muck up a password attempt, but the scrolling is excruciatingly slow. We measured: It takes 30 seconds and 100 trackpad swipes.  

When trying to upload a profile pic, instead, we kept downloading the blank silhouette pic a handful of times.

You’re then prompted to tick 3 interests out of dozens, which are all pre-ticked, so you have to untick everything, except be careful not to untick ‘untick all’ because then it ‘reticks’ all… you get it.

Oh, and what interests do they offer? Here’s a choice selection: dough, snails, faucets, dry-wall, envelopes, and mullets (OK, mullets can be interesting). 

Feeling stressed? Don’t worry, there’s a help box: “Please wait, there are 445 people in line.” That number only increases.

Personal details: You insert your birthday both on an awkward slider that shoots from 0 to 100, and also by ddmmyy except mm is alphabetical and yy starts at 1900. 

For country of origin, there’s a scroll down screen of tiny black-and-white flags (at least we knew that USA is near the bottom).  

Don’t forget about ticking counter, which keeps popping up, slowing you down.

Captcha took some time to crack. The “bows” are either archery stuff, bow ties, people bowing, gift bows, or boa constrictors. “Checks” gets you banking forms, checkered patterns, chess moves, ticks and Xs, checklists, and people just generally ‘checking’ things like their watches or equipment. 

How did we keep bungling this? There seemed to be 16 images but just 12 checkboxes. Hope you figure it out faster than we did.

And that’s that. It took us some change short of half an hour.

You are rewarded with a dancing Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… Nice choice for the total opposite of au currant references, especially if they’re hoping to recruit some sprightly millennials and wet-eared gen-Zers.

“The IoT product agency,”

Think of a thermostat that talks to a heater which speaks to an electricity grid which shares with a bank account which informs a refrigerator, and everything is displayed on your phone, where you can also take over control.

In other words, the “Internet of Things” is ultimately about more communicating and less waste, more output per input, a more efficient and possibly greener techno-physico-environment.

Bagaar goes the whole route in building these devices from brainstorm to programming to prototyping to mass manufacturing. For example, they’ve done a cool smart bike with an intuitive motor assistant, an anti-theft system, GPS tracking, and remote assistance.

Bagaar’s IoT devices—from bikes to heating and energy systems—come with all the necessary custom interfaces, apps, and digital infrastructures to use them. They also provide a range of tech support for their customers to learn how to understand the data their devices are generating, and how to maximize utility based on that knowledge.

What’s more, Bagaar has a robust 3D configurator which allows customers to digitally play with and tweak their object in the low-cost design stage. You could even use virtual reality.  

“If your UI work goes completely unnoticed, you did a great job!” 

So explains Bagaar on User Inyerface. A design philosophy which represents an especially valuable lesson when it comes to working, business, and anything use or customer satisfaction-related. Technology needs to help us, but not necessarily impress us with flashy bells and whistles (which often go awry).

Bagaar claims 90% of users take “interface for granted.” A mistake as interfaces are the translators between our sophisticated bio-aural-visual-linguistic-associative and dexterous-clickorus-swiperous forms of communication with the computer’s weird-n-wacky bunch of wires and chips and code.

Since interfaces are the ‘butter’ of Bagaar’s bread-n-butter, they take the design pretty seriously. 

After playing this little Inyerface game, the lesson Bagaar is preaching is clear, there are certain things you should not take for granted when it comes to interfacing, and especially sign-ups. Don’t punish users by slowing the process down or sending them backward.

They will notice (and so to will your user base numbers).