Saturday, 19 May 2012

Atom 21: Reading Itinerary Chart & Tickets

Its been common that I stumble across people who book wrong tickets basically due to time,date and month misrepresentation or misunderstanding. Booking at one end of the thread, wherein reading the booked information is at the other end.

The error fall under this scenario -
1. Booking wrong tickets due to confusion of month/date notation due to International standards
2. Booking wrong tickets due to confusion over time notation (12H/24H confusion) - Bigger in the lot
3. Reading it wrongly and ending up to depart in the station earlier or later
4. Above all, if all these cases were not part of the individual or routine - cautious approach in understanding and reading the information is become critical - that increases cognitive load and counter-check to trust one's belief.

The real problem of major error is the missing piece of understanding how user look to information in day-to-day life.

1. Can we get a standard way of representation of month/date amidst the International standards, say the month "May" is mentioned to avoid any number representation. So the month is taken out of the picture. But sometimes, there needs a cautious approach in refreshing the mind! If we do mention - "1 month's time from the current date" or "15 days to date of travel" or "Your booking 2 weeks ahead" or "Your plans to leave this weekend" -as all these start to put the user in a frame and support his sequence of thought process. The user always relates terms like my travel is scheduled in "1 week" or "this weekend" or "next weekend" or "in a month's time" or "more than a month's time", as may be found in their daily conversation.
This largely address the booking approach and the critical cognition involved. Agreed, still you need to cross-refer the booking dates to the "daily conversation statements", but the idea is we are getting closer to the user and aiding largely.

2. Next, looking at reading the piece of information is another critical cognitive load, as reading 12H/24 H connotations are pretty confusing! Reason - We are used much to thinking in 12H formats, rarely 24H in everyday life. Alright, I think we can start using "daily conversation statements" formula to map which-ever format it is in. The itinerary chart should read "Morning of May 25 - 9.45" rather 9.45 AM or 0945 (vs 2145). Let the user be trusted with a statement that can support the thinking process - more like "After your breakfast @ 9.45", "Wake early to catch @ 9.45", "Zombie zone @ 2.30", "Miss your sleep on May 25 for 2.30 flight" (intriguing or engaging statements).

3. All these also could be ably supported by Visual connotations and mapping it for easier understanding. This would be a exercise on to structure the Information design through visualization methods.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Atom 20: Is a room really booked in that Hotel?

Online hotel booking increasing gradually by time, and I been wondering its just not the comfort as against booking an airline ticket. A ticket as it shows up in a PDF and ready for printing, is more largely a experience that task accomplished. How about a movie ticket? The process is much similar and the end process confirms the success of task.

Hotel booking though end as a process in a final confirmation or hitherto a PDF file ready for printing, but the hotel booking as a end process is not enclosed or tagged to completion of task, against other examples - where the other task with meticulously closed action item - as a ticket! The ticket has a form of agreed commonality, of a surety - of a booked seat (as on Movie's the choice of seats are predominantly chosen and driven as a goal) - or of a booked flight seat (though sometimes the exact seat is not even chosen).

Hotel booking as a goal looks at
1. I need a room
2. I need a room of such features facing the particular side/sight
3. I would prefer having a room somewhere there or being closer/overlooking to that

Basically, hotel booking though need to look at ways to strengthen the user goals and address the goals. So instead of being a generalized statement, Hotel booking should say user - that the Room 203 is booked for you. It may even suggest the user to choose one room that is available with preferences. It may even book rooms as per choice and confirm the choice. Currently, the booking address that the room is booked, whereas the user is unknown of many things which he would want or need in accordance to personal taste. This may be even going a step ahead and stating that "Ms. Diane would be your Front desk assistant during your arrival on 25th May 2012" (by simply cross-verifying the list of Front desk assistants shift time)

Thus on addressing the Goal and user reaction/emotive response is quite fundamental to hotel booking, as it looks a gap that exist on successful task completion, where sometimes the user would need to call or speak to the Hotel Front desk to really confirm on booking.