Yes, that is my signature

The other day, my wife and I made a trip to Walmart to do some grocery shopping. Granted the closest current Walmart is about 20 minutes away — I say “current” because if our town ever gets their water situation figured out, we too will have one eventually, just like every other city in this nation. Needless to say, we rarely go there because of how crowded the parking lot is, so we typically go to our local Kroger even though Walmart usually has lower prices.

Anyways, I digress from the reason I am writing this post. After gathering all the food we needed for the week, just like everyone else, we made our way to the checkout lines. In typical Walmart fashion, we wait there with the crowd as it slowly moves forward for our turn.

The cashier rings everything up and I swipe my credit card after it politely asking if the store was clean. Don’t ask my wife as she would have another opinion on how they keep their bathrooms. Let’s just say we avoid those at all costs. So I ignore the message and swipe away. It processes and then asks me for my signature. I scrawl in my signature as best as I can on the touch screen — who doesn’t have a hard time of creating a nice signature on those things, and move my stylus to the bottom right corner and hit the button.

Now here is the kicker, I am immediately taken back to the screen asking for my signature again. I stop to think, uh, did it not like my chicken scratch? I look down at where I pressed the button and to my amazement, it says “Cancel.” Now don’t get me wrong, if I would have read the button to begin with, I would have probably noticed the “Accept” button is on the left side. My gripe is, who the hell would put a “Cancel” button in the exact area as a person living in a left to right society and is very comfortable and used to an “Accept” button in the bottom right?

From using these machines ever since I got my first credit card at age of 18, the button has ALWAYS been in the lower right corner. According to usability laws, motion goes from left to right in a zig zag pattern top to bottom. Now you may be saying, if that’s true, then the “Accept” button was in the correct spot, but I beg to differ on this situation. Try it for yourself. After you finish your signature, where does your hand naturally end up? My point exactly. Sometimes the rules are broken to aid in the ease of use especially when motions are done.

Needless to say, I was just taken back how it asked me to redo my signature, even though in my mind I thought I was done. Maybe the people who engineered these machines should have taken the time to study their demographic.

Filed under: User Experience