A UX Lesson

How do you impress a GMC truck owner?

Have them drive a Ford.

Ah, the classic brand rivalry that’s as good as any.

If you’re reading this because you follow MINDSCAPE for our web marketing expertise, you’re wondering what in the world trucks have to do with web marketing.

I’ll get there.

I lease vehicles for two reasons:

  1. I spend over 2 hours a day traveling to/from work so I want a nice vehicle to waste my life away in
  2. I work on computers for a living ‍ (which means if my vehicle breaks down, I need to rely on someone else to fix it.)

I previously leased a 2013 and then a 2015 Ford F-150. As I considered the 2018 models, the interior was nearly the same as my 2015. I wanted something new – not just to the benefit of my sniffer, but for the experience! So this pushed me to go outside of my love for Ford and consider other brands.

With strong recommendations from friends and a client that owns one today, I went with a GMC.

I wanted something different and man did I get it. Within a couple days of owning a GMC, I regretted the change.

My disappointment hasn’t been in the engine or the towing capacity, it’s been in the USER EXPERIENCE!

10 ways Ford is better than GMC

1: GMC needs a…KEY!

This sounds absolutely ridiculous, but once you’ve owned a vehicle that doesn’t require a key, you realize how inconvenient a key is! This is hands down my BIGGEST complaint about this truck because I am reminded how much I dislike this EVERY TIME I WALK UP TO THE DOOR! Come on GMC, my wife’s 2013 doesn’t even need a key.

2. No light on keyfob

There’s no indicator on the keyfob to tell me my vehicle has (or hasn’t) started when it’s not in sight. My 2015 Ford had a light that turned green when the truck started, red when it didn’t. Now I rely on a prayer that it started to prevent my computer hands from getting cold.

3: No blind spot detection

For whatever reason, my GMC doesn’t have blind spot detection (a little light that appears in the sideview mirrors if a vehicle is there), while my Fords did. What they do have are these super-bright lights in the mirror that blind me at night when my blinkers are on. Not the best trade off.

4. No Sirius XM Radio pause/rewind

Ok, I don’t really know who to blame this on: Sirius for allowing it to happen, Apple for their CarPlay, or GMC. But what I do know is that with my Ford, I could pause and rewind Sirius radio stations. It was the best thing about Sirius that made it worth the investment and now it’s gone. Blah.

5. I miss Ford’s door keypad

Both my Ford trucks had a keypad on the door. Using a 5-digit code, I could unlock my doors without my key. This convenience is huge when you need to grab something quickly and don’t have your keys on you. Now I must go into the house to locate my keys — which is not always an easy task.

6. Spraying windshield washer fluid

This one is just weird on my part, but GMC puts this in a fairly common spot on the left side with the blinker. On the top of the lever is a tab that you push forward to spray. I didn’t realize how awkward it is to contort your wrist around the steering wheel to push this tab until my experience with Ford, which has this same feature at the end of the blinker. You simply push the blinker bar in towards the steering column to get the same result with no special yoga hand moves (I don’t think that’s a real thing).

7. Interior lighting

Maybe Ford is all about that mood and GMC is all about that dark. But at night, the cab of my Ford was perfectly lit so you could see what was in the vehicle with you. In my GMC, I could have a 4-foot crocodile on the floor behind me and never know it because it’s as dark as the deep ocean where the scary fish live.

8. Hole in center counsel

The shifter for the Fords was on top of the center counsel. The 2500 series trucks move it to the steering column, so the GMC leaves this huge, deep open hole in the center counsel that could double as a mini hot tub. It’s just a collector of treasures (junk) with no way to hide it. It’s just weird and seems like a miss.

9. Give me room, PLEASE!

If you’ve been in the back seat of a Ford truck (traveling), you know what I am talking about here. Ford’s rear seats have a TON of room! GMC, not so much. But WHY? Does Ford have a patent on the size of their cab? Why is this convenience conveniently missed by GMC? The large cab is an even larger benefit when traveling. For whatever reason, GMC doesn’t match this.

10. Two cup holders!

Two people, two cups? Never, ever in my truck. My wife needs a 100 ounce travel pop anytime we get in the truck. I usually have a water for my work travel. When we stop for some fast food…bam, two more drinks, twofew cup holders in the GMC. Fords conveniently have 4, a savior for the thirsty.

I could keep going on but this post is now getting long and if you’re still reading you’re wondering what the point of my privileged rant is.

But first I do want to give GMC some love:

5 ways GMC is better than Ford

1. Heated Steering Wheel

Nailed it. This is such a beautiful feature in the GMC I could kiss someone (on the hand…because I am married).


“Dad” must sound like a lot of things. For the first time, I can actually say, “Call Dad” and it calls my DAD in my GMC. My Ford’s could never understand “Dad” and wanted to call everyone but my best friend (for the sake of full transparency, my wife is also my best friend…you’re allowed to have two).

3. Controls on the back side of the steering wheel

This makes changing station and volume with your index fingers effortless. Very convenient. Two thumbs up from those not doing the work.

4. Steps in the bumper

The rear bumper has steps in it. Much better than the contraption Ford hides in their tailgate — a feature that is always touted but never ever gets used by anyone.

5. Exterior

The exterior design/look of the GMC is just…better. It looks tougher than a Ford. That toughness really aligns with my personality if you haven’t already gathered that.

What this has to do with web marketing.

You must understand and meet user expectations. My experience with Ford established a set of expectations that I didn’t get with GMC. Because they were not met, I was disappointed and regretted my decision to purchase (at first).

Your site must take into consideration the experience your customers are getting elsewhere, because if you’re not leading, other companies/sites are setting expectations.

For example, Amazon has set the expectation for consumers that everything should be able to be shipped overnight, for free. That has created a huge challenge for eCommerce sites with high competition, low margin commodity products that can’t have shipping fees buried into the product price. Shipping isn’t free to the shipper, but that’s not what consumers think, thanks to Amazon.

The experience my friends and clients described with their truck was amazing. But the reality is, they just don’t know better. For them, moving from one GMC to another, all their expectations were met. And that’s fine for current customers.

When you want to grow you have to think about your new prospective customers first and understand what they expect so you can at a minimum meet them, but at best exceed them.

Here are two companies that did a great job of exceeding my expectations just today:

How AddSearch.com exceeded my expectations

I have created accounts with a lot of sites over the years, from Google to Apple, from Yahoo to Tind…er wait, that was a friend of mine. I’m married, remember?!

When creating an account, we all have expectations on what will be asked and how the experience will go. I expected the typical user experience: I would give my info, I would have to create an account, and then I could start my free trial by activating some stuff.

AddSearch.com did a FANTASTIC job of exceeding mine. Here’s how:

Step 1: Add website URL and email address.

Pretty standard. Expectations met by not exceeded yet.


Step 2: Indexing started

Expectations start to be exceeded here. AddSearch started working immediate and made it clear!

As a new user I see I’m already making progress, reinforcing my confidence I just chose a great tool! Good for the user, gooder for AddSearch. (Don’t worry, when you hire MINDSCAPE for copywriting, it doesn’t come from my fingers. Gooder is a fun “word”.)


Step 3: Sign Up

Here’s the only misstep in their process. I already gave my email address so it should have auto-filled here. But besides that, notice the bottom of the window is continuing to update me on the progress being made. That is fantastic. Also notice they offer the option to sign up with my Google account. This is a method that’s expected today so be sure you’re doing this too when it makes sense.


Step 4: Features

While the crawl is wrapping up, they don’t send me to a page to watch their progress bar advance. They leverage the available time to educate me on the key features of the tool, reinforcing again why I am interested. Even better, if I dont’t want to read through all the features, I can easily skip it.


Step 5: All Done!

With the crawl done, I am notified with a call to action that says “Go to demo”.

I’m expecting a standard, generic demo of the tool…


Step 6: DEMO

Wrong. It’s far from a standard, generic demo of their tool.

They are doing something amazing here. While there’s work left for me to do, I am able to use it immediately. They let me know they’ve only indexed 63 pages to help prevent me from thinking the tool is junk when I search the site for my dream Polaris Ranger: 2018 Ranger Crew XP1000 EPS High Lifter Edition and have it not appear yet.

Overall, AddSearch.com is doing it right. They have a great product at a great price that’s easy to use all the way around. Very impressive.

How (Jeff) switching to AT&T exceeded (our) expectations

This example alone showcases the value of exceeding customer’s expectations. Jeff, our amazing Chief Operating Officer here at MINDSCAPE, walked into my office to show me his phone. He said, “Check out what I just received from AT&T.”

I had him forward it to me to share in this blog post. Here’s the message:



Sure, it’s not unusual for AT&T or any other company to send text message to new customers. It was the video. Check it out:

As a digital marketing nerd, this is a beautiful thing for me to experience. They are exceeding Jeff’s expectations by managing his expectations for his first bill.

AT&T is controlling the narrative while reducing the chance Jeff is will be upset when his first bill is higher than expected, preventing him from … regretting his decision to change network.

To bring this full circle, I may have exaggerated some of my regret. Maybe a little. But the further my Ford trucks are in the rearview mirror, the less I remember about them, and the less I expect out of my GMC. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Know your customers, know your prospective customers. At minimum, meet their expectations. To win, exceed them.

Like what you read?

If you like the information you read about here, I have some good news. MINDSCAPE produces blog posts like this one every week. And we’ll deliver them right to your inbox. Just click the button below to become a subscriber.