“All eyes are on user experience” - this was mentioned many times by the speakers at the UPA China Conference this year. On returning from the conference, we organized a half-day outing for the UX Club members to go out and observe different kinds of user experiences in real life: in the park, the subway and the streetcar. This blog gives a brief introduction to what everyone observed, with some pictures.
Restrict some actions to encourage people to do the right thing
The trash cans in the park usually have two openings, one is for recyclable waste and the other is for rubbish, which makes filtering easy. When removing the waste from the bin, workers can easily do the post-process. Additionally, this design helps to raise everyone's awareness of environmental protection.
However, many people don’t care much about which opening they use, because both kinds of waste (recyclables or rubbish) can be put into either of the openings. There are also two different kinds of trash can in the park – one which has the two openings together on the top, and another which has the two openings on opposite sides of the bin. A common phenomenon is that most people don’t follow the rules when putting garbage into the latter type of bin; they don’t even know that there is another opening on the other side!
Would people do the right thing if more restrictions were in place here? If there were different shapes for the recyclables opening as opposed to the rubbish opening or if they were at different heights would people put their rubbish in the correct place?
Add necessary information to help people reduce their steps
In the park, toilet signs contain very useful information, especially if someone needs to find a toilet nearby quickly! The following two signs are the most common. Compared with the sign in Image 4, the sign in Image 3 adds a line of text to tell people the distance to the nearest toilet, which is what most people wanted to know. Because of this, it doesn’t just enable tourists to reduce their steps but it is more useful.
All public information should be streamlined or it may be confusing. Take the following road sign for example, many people are confused by “Zhangjiang Rd” and take a while to figure out where it goes (the fact is, Zhangjiang Rd is straight, but Ziwei Rd goes around a corner). In this case, the text is not helpful as it actually confuses the matter, and it certainly wouldn't help anyone reduce their steps. Would it be better to consider using a different type of sign to show that Ziwei Rd is a curved road?
Text should not be the only thing shown
The choice of font and text layout are important considerations for information displays in public places. However, they are not the most important thing. The essential thing is to ensure that the text is readable in the environment and can be understood by the target user. The following picture shows some fire hydrant equipment in a subway station. In order to get a better visual result, three Chinese characters are mapped to two English words. The result is that the English letters are broken up into three groups “Fire Hyd Rant”, but is it readable? The answer is obvious.
Labels, graphics and text
In some streetcars there is a new mechanism for opening the door. When people want to get off at a station they can open the door themselves by pressing a button on the door when the indicator lights around it are lit. However, many people miss their station because they don’t know how to open the door after the streetcar has stopped even though there is a text label next to the button to tell them what to do. If there were some graphics added alongside the text, it would be easier for everyone to understand how to operate the door.
And last but not least
User experience is not just a paradigm for thinking about software design – it can be applied to everything in our daily life, and to any services you want to provide for your users.