It’s Sunday, late morning, and I’m right in the middle of cleaning the bathroom. In the other room I hear a frustrated girlfriend struggling to find accommodation on - lets say - website X, for our trip to the Amalfi Coast.
Complaints flying left, right and centre, vented in a tone that kind of suggests that this is all my fault:
- “Why won’t this?”
- “It won’t let me!”
- “I keep loosing my tab when I go to trip advisor for reviews!”
- “I hate this”
- “Why can’t it show me what’s available on the dates that we’re going”
- “Oh FFS!”
At this point I’m scrubbing the bottom of the shower. The smell of bleach is intense and my trainers squeak on the floor as I scrub back and forth. Before I hear the next complaint come in, I stop and shout - “try AirBnB?”
“Ahhh! I can’t use this useless website anymore.”
“Try AirBnB!” I shout.
30 seconds later:
- “This place looks gorgeous”
- Then there was laughter “this guy’s review is hilarious… ‘It's a great place to unwind and get away from it all. Especially given the wifi and flatscreen TV doesn't work’ haha”
- “I’m loving the ones that look good, ok”
- “we can go through them later“
3 minutes later, “I’ve found somewhere! Let’s book this one!”
Same problem, solved differently
AirBnB and website X offered the same thing, that is: A product that helps you find, compare and buy accommodation for your travels.
One had concentrated on designing a delightful user experience, the other clearly has some work to do.
What fascinates me though, is the impact that poor design can have on someone’s Sunday morning.
Put another way, how important our work as designers is.