Product Design Rants – Airports

I have been on the road for 10 days across Europe and the East coast. Maybe it is because I am getting increasingly cranky, but these product design issues started getting to me… I have written about product management in the past and I wonder what the product managers behind these products/solutions were thinking.

here they go in order:

Check-in Kiosk – What’s your Reservation Code???

Here is a the welcome screen of a check-in kiosk in Europe

Really? You really want me to have that handy? When I travel, I know my last name and at best my destination… the reservation code?????  Really?

The funny thing is that there was a clerk walking around and helping people to facilitate adoption of these automatic check-in kiosks and he told me “See, the Reservation Code is very important” at which I wanted to respond “Maybe to you and your developers, not to us users of this system”. I refused to look up my reservation code and went for a manned check-in station

Departure Time Table

The airports in Europe sort the departing time table by time of departure, not by destination like they do here in the US. It is annoying.

I do know where I am going, and I look at the departure table to figure out WHEN I am going. I don’t really care the the next flight to board is London if I am going to Paris. I just want to look for Pars and see when is the next flight and from which gate.

Is it just me??? You should see the amount of people staring at these screens desperately looking for their flights… They should just try both type of sorting, measure the average staring time and figure out which one is better. My money is on destination city sorting.

The question to me is not “When and where is everybody going and in which order?” but instead “When am I going?”

Installer-Centered Elevator Design

Here is the buttons of an elevator in the Frankfurt airport

I understand that when the builder installed this elevator the fact that it was servings floor 3 and 5 was very important. I do. But as a user the only thing i care is where is the launge and where is the exit. That’s all I want to know. The fact that they happen to be on the 5th and 3rd floor respectively, not very interesting or useful if those are my only two choice.

Ah… cranky traveling


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