Let us preface our story with this: As advocates of everything and anything relating to good solid UX, we’re both blessed and cursed. When we see good UX we applaud those involved. But when we see bad, well, things get ugly. Now, onto our story about chips and pickles…

We at truematter are a picky bunch of eaters (we like to say it just adds to our creativity). We’ve got a vegetarian, a semi-vegetarian, a non-condimentarian, and a gluten allergian. Needless to say it can be difficult to find a place where we can all eat (and enjoy eating) together. So when Jason’s Deli opened up down the street we were ecstatic. Not only does it boast great food, it has something for everyone (applause).

But to every delicious silver lining there is a cloud. Every time – and we mean EVERY TIME – our non-condimentarian orders his meal sans pickle, it comes con pickle. And not for lack of communication. We’ve specified “no pickle”. We’ve insisted “no pickle”. We’ve threatened, pleaded and begged – “seriously, no pickle”. We’ve ordered online, by phone, take-out and dine-in, explicitly expressing our disdain for ye ole briny cucumber. We’ve even asked to speak to the manager about their “pickle process”. And yet the pickle persists.

It wasn’t until today’s deli pilgrimage that the “ah-ha” moment struck. As it turns out, it’s not that the staff at Jason’s have a twisted pickle addiction. It’s not that there’s a grand pickle conspiracy among Jason’s deli management. And it’s not even that someone in our office is playing hilarious pranks. It’s that on the cash register interface, there is only one button that a cashier can press to add chips to an order, and that button reads “Chips + Pickle”.

Chips + Pickle? Can these things not be sundered? Is Jason’s growing their own chipnpickle trees? Is two buttons too much to ask? Or maybe the developers liked pickles so darn much, they couldn’t imagine a universe in which anyone would willingly turn one down.

“WHAT? NO PICKLE? You’re… you’re INHUMAN!”

This is an instance in which UI problems translate into real life frustrations. Real life frustrations that tinge our impressionable sandwich bread with a vinegary aftertaste.

So yes, separate pickle button, please. We will now also be requiring a “no spit in our sandwich” button, kthxbye.


About truematter

Our team has been doing the real work of user experience since the earliest days of the commercial web. We’re out to make your digital products a whole lot better.

Suffice it to say, we will always make sure to separate your pickle button from your chips button.

Author: @kendraschaefer
Illustration: Rannah Derrick