Have you ever wandered around a grocery store in search of one very specific item and found yourself wondering where the logic lies in arranging the grocery store? Inevitably, I can never find what I’m looking for when a) I’m in a hurry or b) I’m tired.
Tuesday night I was both in a hurry and tired, so it was no wonder it took me 20 minutes to find bean sprouts. I searched the bean aisle three times before giving up and returning to my regularly-scheduled shopping, and finally, on my way from the milk to the register it occurred to me that bean sprouts would probably be with the Chinese food and that the Chinese food would be in the ethnic aisle not the bean aisle. Had I called my husband and asked him where the bean sprouts were, he would’ve said the ethnic section right away, but no, I asked the teenage boy who worked at the grocery store, and he told me the bean aisle. I wanted to shove my newly-acquired can of bean sprouts somewhere unmentionable.
And in my frustration, I found myself imagining a grocery store that functioned like a web browser. Instead of asking unhelpful employees where the bean sprouts were, I could have typed Ctrl + F and searched for ‘bean sprouts,’ much like I would search for the phrase on a page in my web browser. Or instead of looking up and down the bean aisle for twenty minutes, I would have found a sign that functioned like a hyperlink and said, “Looking for bean sprouts? Try the ethnic food aisle!”
Do I spend so much time online that I take for granted the simple usability the Internet offers me? Am I such the web developer that I treat my environments like extensions of the World Wide Web? Do I need to spend more time in the real world and come to accept these usability problems?
What have I become? I’m a crazy twentysomething that rants about the location of bean sprouts in her grocery store. I have a feeling it’s all gonna be downhill from here.