A simple design makes daily life so much easier for customers.

If you’ve ever been to Japan, one thing that might’ve struck you is how user-friendly things are here. Whether it’s elevators with mirrors, red-and-yellow markings on stairs or public payphones with two receivers, designers are always coming up with new ways to make the user experience more enjoyable, and one example of that was revealed recently at a Japanese convenience store.

▼ Twitter user @A_gussan0531 shared their experience at the convenience store with the below photo.

The photo shows a sign attached to the counter of a Lawson convenience store, with images, from top to bottom, of: A plastic bag, with a circle around it to indicate yes; a plastic bag with a cross through it to indicate no; a pair of chopsticks, a fork, and a spoon; and a microwave. The images are accompanied with Japanese phrases that read, from top to bottom: “I’ll purchase a plastic bag“; “I don’t need a plastic bag“, “Please“, and “Please heat“.

So what is it for? Well, let’s read what @A_gussan0531 had to say in the message that accompanied his photo:

“A clerk at Lawson said something to me but I had no idea what they were saying.
‘Sorry, I’m hard of hearing,’ I said while pointing at my hearing aid.
They pointed their finger at the bottom of this and said, ‘Shall I warm it up?’
I thought it was so convenient to be able to communicate like this (so this is the oft-spoken-about Lawson…!)”

It’s true that Lawson gets a lot of praise from customers, but this was a new step forward in customer service that @A_gussan0531 wasn’t aware of, and others were equally surprised by the user-oriented service, saying:

“What a great idea!”
“This reduces the stress and burden on both customers and clerks”
“A sign like this is useful in a variety of situations, like when customers are wearing headphones.”
“I have hearing problems and I can’t read lips when staff wear masks so being able to point at a sign like this is perfect!”
“When I’ve told staff that I can’t hear them properly, sometimes they give me a bad look so I would love to use this!”

Who knew a simple sticker on a counter could improve the user experience to such a great extent? It’s a wonderful reminder of how Japan excels at UX in real life, by creating a simple design that can transform a potentially stressful situation into a pleasant one. It’s a customer-oriented service you can even find in public restrooms!

Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Twitter/@A_gussan0531 via Hachima Kikou

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