I214 UX Research

January 20, 2012

Not taking users’ lives into account

Filed under: usability examples in the news — Nancy Van House @ 8:49 pm

Not-So-Happy New Year: Rail Website Woes In China

“During China’s Lunar New Year holiday, more than 200 million people will travel home. It’s the world’s largest annual migration, and every year, Chinese tell horror stories about trying to get train tickets.

“This season, the holiday falls on Monday, and it was supposed to be different: For the first time, China’s rail ministry created a website to reserve seats. But things didn’t work out as planned.

“Volume on the new train ticket website has been so heavy — one day it got 1.4 billion hits — that it has often crashed. Other times, the website charged people money without actually giving them tickets….Huang not only said the ticket website was a mess; he also noted that the people who travel the most during Chinese New Year — migrant workers — have little education and don’t know how to use computers anyway.“You guys sitting on couches in air-conditioned offices, sipping tea, smoking cigarettes and coming up with buying tickets online, have you ever considered our lives?” Huang wrote. “Have you experienced the agony of buying tickets?”

“The letter went viral, and Huang became something of a folk hero.”

January 16, 2012

Usability Challenge: Broader Backsides and Seat Widths

Filed under: usability examples in the news — Nancy Van House @ 4:51 pm
Transit Agencies Face the New Calculus of Broader Backsides
Published: January 15, 2012
Each time a New York area transit agency decides to purchase new trains or buses, it must consider whether to make its seats wider, usually at the expense of passenger capacity.

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