Travelling to India : A User experience

21 May 2013

I have been quite enthusiastic from the moment I decided to move to Mumbai - a city where people from every corner of the world are dwelling; says a friend from Mumbai. I also heard it is the economical hub of India. So I presumed there must be lots interactions going on. People are continuously searching for better ways to get things done, seek information they need & better utilities to simplify people’s lives in such a hectic lifestyle. However, to my surprise & couldn’t help being a UX professional I observed most of the time people get stuck for things where simple design and usability issues are needed to be fixed, that will help to ease lot of things for a better city life. 

During my travel, my first encounter to some UX issues was at New Delhi airport. Simple fixes could solve a lot of confusions. 

1. Automatic moving-walkways at IGI airport, Delhi 

When I arrived at IGI airport Delhi, I saw there were nice moving-walkways. There were voice alert systems at the end of the walk that was continuously alerting the passengers. The system seems nice since it is alerting but the alert is monotonous and it’s playing repeatedly at a fixed interval. It causes the passengers unaware of the voice alert. A better solution can be making the alert only when the passenger is reaching at the end of the walkway. 

2. Travel guides and maps 

Another usability issue at the airport was the lack of travel information. I could not find travelling maps and guides inside the airport. There was no information display board. A simple information board can be very much helpful to find information about the location of hotels, restaurants, tourist areas, bus stops, train stations and other important places. If someone doesn’t agree with what I say, it explains my complaint that the user experience has gone wrong as the information needed by people new to India is not in between the route “exit from the plane till the arrival gate or outside the airport”. 

3. Trip from International airport to Domestic airport: 

When someone arrives at Delhi airport from international flight and wants to fly to a domestic airport, then it’s quite confusing. I arrived at IGI airport Delhi in and I wanted to go to Mumbai. I had plenty of time so I had some lunch and relaxed for some time and then went to the departure gate to find that departure gate I was directed was only for international flights. One must take a bus or taxi and travel about 5 km to go to the domestic departure. If I had less time I would have missed the flight. It should have mentioned that the departure is international and for the domestic departure proceed to the next terminal which is 5 km away and need to take a bus or taxi available outside of the terminal. One who is new to the city gets a very negative impression of not only the airport services but also the city he has come to visit. 

4. Communication options: 

My worries did not end here as I arrived at the Mumbai airport via domestic flight. I could not find public telephone so that I can call someone who is coming to pick me up. I have to borrow someone’s cell phone to contact him. It would also be better if one can purchase a SIM card at the airport. This could help everyone who is new to the city. This explains that the “User” is not satisfied with your services. Even if he had to opt for the services in future because he has no alternate option, businesses do not have the right to continue providing horrible services to their customers. 

5. Direction boards 

I wished there were direction signboards showing the name of the destinations at the cross-roads. It helps travelers find their destination easier. I checked with the taxi guy how he manages to understand the routes, to which he replied that they have their own sources to locate places & they cannot depend on signboards to be put in future, but yes it would have made their life easier. One of the main users is finding solutions by himself is a perfect example of a bad user experience. 

These issues are few examples of bad UX. We have to take care of many things which are directly or indirectly affecting people’s lives. Few of them are Websites, applications, interfaces, softwares etc. where people put 8-10 hours of everyday working on them or using them for their own pleasures. As West is embracing the UX methodologies more and more in their work, a developing country like India should not stay behind in adopting it either. My job profile as a UX designer will help me contribute good UX designs & solutions, so that we can live a better tomorrow.

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