Some people still don’t realise how important is the User Experience and from there, the strategy of designing and developing a good User Interface. It is important to know that without a good UX users (people) in general wouldn’t have good experiences while: traveling, going to a hospital, taking public transport, going to the airport, etc.
What would happen is you didnt have signs in an airport saying things like
- “Gates 1- 20 to the left | Gates 21-40 to the right”. And instead of that the gates were in different floors and un-ordered, so you just had to walk and see the number of the gates until you found one?
- WC Woman – Man. What if you just had to walk in till you see if there are men or women?
- Or like in the following picture from the Chinese airport: You might not understand chinese nor english neither, but the arrows and symbols show you where to go for a taxi.
Or some better example:
- When you are flying and you dont speak the language of the crew. Have you realised how important are the signs you see in front of your seat?. It saves time to the crew to have these symbols so people dont need to be asking when they are or not allowed to do something.
UX in the Cities when you travel: London, the great example.
So most of my examples are a bit related to travelling, yes, that’s because I like traveling, but mostly because I like comparing travellers with software users: A person that was born and raised in London knows all the rules of the city, knows where to go in the underground, knows how to cross the streets, etc., but a tourist doesn’t know any of those things. Same applies if I compare a Software Developer to a User: the developer knows exactly what button to click to apply a certain action, how to configure the system to do what he/she expects it to do., but the user doesn’t know most of the functionalities of the new software he/she is acquiring.
So, heading to the examples, I find London one of the best designed cities for tourists:
- Most people know UK has a different direction for cars driving on the street, when you usually have to look left to cross a two directions road, in UK you will have to look right. This sounds easy when you read it, but once you are relaxed walking, it might confuse you quite a bit where to look before crossing:
- The underground of London is Massive!, however the experience there, regardless of the peak hour, is pleasant because you always get to your destiny without needing extra help:
- And this incredible creative way to advise people to stand on the escalators on the right and move on the left side saves people time and headaches:
And so on…
The examples of how UX changes and improves our experience every day of our life are countless. Some companies, entities and governments make a better effort to improve the user experience, and the reward is priceless.
We live with it every single day, whether we realize of it or not, there are people thinking about our User Experience not only in computers, and implementing better usability rules in software/web development should not be different than implementing it in a city or an airport, and the most important fact is we do it all for the same reason: We want happy tourists back to the city, or happy customers back to our software.