In-Store Product Displays - Look, but don't touch...

User experience designer Brian Haggerty writes an excellent post on his blog, Losing Context, about the sad state of in-store product demos. Specifically, many of the devices that we'd like to try out by interacting with, especially mobile ones where how the thing feels in your hand is a factor, are so locked down by security measures that they can't be properly experienced. His photo, at left, of a Zune "display" tells the whole story. The article is definitely worth a read, but for the lazy, I'll paraphrase some of the main points:

-Aside from preventing interaction, ugly anti-theft displays actually make the product itself less attractive, more bulky, even stand-offish.

-In-store displays of computers usually have no internet connection, preventing potential buyers from testing a very common use prior to buying.

-Cell phone "demos" are often non-working appearance models, which don't accurately represent the weight of the device, the screen quality, and of course, the user interface.

-The light at the end of the tunnel: Apple. Apple stores let users interact with products that are fully functional and not encumbered by over-the-top security measures. Score one for Cupertino!

[via the product usability weblog]

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