Have the ubiquitous emojis— —taken away our ability feel anything more nuanced than happy, neutral, and sad?
I get the point. These are heuristics that simplify communication in a hurried world. They’re a way for companies to get quick, easy feedback. But when I feel other things, as I think most humans do, there aren’t the symbols I need.
Sometimes I feel like , sometimes like , and other times in ways that no emoji can really capture.
On recent travel, these interactive feedback machines were everywhere. But I just couldn’t bring myself to use them.
At Frankfurt airport, I got this one after being manhandled at the security checkpoint:
There wasn’t an emoji to express my frustration and feeling of public physical violation. I guess I could have put the sad face, ; it was a decent proxy.
Here’s the real problem—even if I did push the , there was nothing else I could do to communicate what made me so .
My would go into a void. I would leave this superficial technological interaction feeling more , among other things, because I wouldn’t be able to say anything more. I would have gotten an automated “Thank you for your feedback!” and promptly punched the screen, only to get manhandled by security again.
Moreover, Frankfurt airport missed out on a chance to actually improve its service. Without capturing more than my , it doesn’t even know what to change. It won’t learn or improve—the very point of the feedback mechanism.
If the tool had given me a chance to provide more details, would I have really been more ?
In an earlier blog post, Feedback Folly: What we’re missing out on, I explore the motivations behind why people give feedback. People often don’t give feedback because they feel like they’re writing into a vacuum. Andrew Rasmussen in, Why you don’t give feedback, explains that you “usually get a discouraging generic response and it’s unclear whether your feedback is valued or will have any impact on the product [or service] roadmap.”
Exactly—there has to be a point for me to explain what happened and how I feel. Even if the Frankfurt airport feedback machine had provided me with space—say a second screen—to provide an explanation, I wouldn’t have bothered giving my feedback if I felt nothing would happen to it.
I needed some instant feedback myself. I needed to know that something would happen with my feedback.