My week by numbers

In the last week I’ve experienced a few interesting things with numbers.

Harry Potter address

Unusual address 2On Tuesday I was attending a meeting in the Southbank area of London, and came across this address plaque on the way there.

Someone obviously doing a play on Harry Potter’s platform 9¾ here – but a great idea for creating a memorable address for a door that’s partway along your building.

I’m scoring this one as 9.5 out of 10 for ingenuity!

TheKey card

On Thursday I used Southern Rail to travel into London Bridge station. They offer an excellent service called Meet the Managers, where their management team are on the station to discuss any issues that customers have. I’m an early adopter of certain technologies (and a complete laggard in others – but that’s a different story) and I applied for one of their TheKey cards when they were first available at my local station. This is a smart card that allows you to store tickets without having to use paper tickets. It’s a great concept – but I’m having a disastrous time using it from a user experience perspective. Rather than list the litany of faults, I’ll just summarise by saying the overall user experience of booking tickets online and using it in reality is crap.TheKey

But I’m willing to help – and so I spared some of my precious time to suggest changes that would help the customer’s experience – and so increase uptake and usage of the technology. At the Meet the Managers session, a delightful customer services person noted all my concerns and said someone would get back to me to address the issue. And they did.

Now bearing in mind that this card has my name printed on with a 18-digit number and is linked to my TheKey account, one would imagine that their systems should be able to track my usage – and hence problems with using at the gates.

I’ve been asked that the next time I try to use the card would I please note down:

  • The date of usage
  • The time of usage at the entry gate to the exact-minute at my departure station
  • The two-digit error message that appears on the screen when I try to use my card at the departure station
  • The number of the ticket-gate that I use at the departure station
  • The time of usage at the entry gate to the exact-minute at my arrival station
  • The two-digit error message that appears on the screen when I try to use my card at the arrival station
  • The number of the ticket-gate that I use at the arrival station

I must then email all this information back to them so they can see what the issue is. This is quite a big ask of a customer – but I’m willing to help them out. In the past when I’ve tried to advise them of the issues by email, their level of response has fallen well-short of excellent. I’m curious to see how they will respond to the effort I put in.

My score on this is pending – but I’ll keep you informed.

Doctor’s surgery

On Friday I dropped in at our local doctors surgery for a check-up and they have a device to automatically check you in. You enter your basic details on a touchscreen and it confirms your appointment time and tells you where to wait.

Waiting timeIt also tells you how many people are in front of you and what the average waiting time is. In my case the waiting time was expected to be 9.47523333333333 minutes. Clearly the NHS system usability check was performed by someone with severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – or it wasn’t done at all.

I’m grading this one as 9.47523333333333 per cent for poor UX-design testing.

Let’s see what next week brings for numbers.

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