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Direct route

Tonight I’m taking the shortest route home. It’s my choice.

I’m on a very rural train line that cuts right across the country from Leeds to Morecambe (I’m parked at Carnforth – a station little used but famous for the film Brief Encounter).

This train is a good example of a pretty dismal local service, but it’s quicker than the alternative (and cheaper – although, not my main motivation). It’s overcrowded for half the journey, noisy and dirty, and the heating isn’t great at this time of year – I’m looking at you Northern Trains.

More often than not I take a slower train with more connections home from Leeds via Manchester. It takes longer but the trains are much more comfortable. I might even get some work done on the way home as there’s still a phone signal for most of the journey.

The point is that I sometimes choose the direct route despite how bad the experience is. I get home faster (that’s the goal) and I soon forget the bad journey.

I always think designing for user experience is a bit like this.

It’s easy to forget that the real experience is the destination, or what happens after we arrive. Not the journey we take to get there. A great experience en route is a bonus, and sometimes we’re willing to offset the additional cost (usually time, money, and/or effort).

Footnote: Don’t get me wrong, Northern Trains should improve their services. Just talk to Simon.

This blog post is part of an experiment where I’m writing and publishing something everyday. This is day 9: everyday is an opportunity to write something – previous blog posts.

Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.