setup: the new shopping center REDI has got lots of negative attention about its fuzziness and suffers from client loss
Before we go and check what the problem is about, we start our engines and generate some initial ideas. Engines produce thoughts of natural daylight behavior to illustrate the consumer how they are positioned in reference to cardinal directions. That should help them understand how to navigate. Similarly, we thought it should help how they are positioned to the surrounding map as well, and thought about internal screens to "see thru the walls". We didn't know how relevant these would however be and headed to the venue.
At REDI we go thru every detail we can picture. There certainly is a lot to fix. There are nice screens with search engines combined to animated routing, but this is pretty unfinished and does not much help in finding anywhere. It should go thru another UX verification round.
And there are practically no guides, except the hired, living creatures called people. Emergency help we guess. The parking lot is lacking appropriate color coding, telling about a lack of unified control of UX-management. Decorative painter has kept his/ her head and infographic his/ her. Just like in the old days. Get a proper CX/UX manager!
We think about how our initial thoughts would fit, and they feel quite irrelevant and we skip them (to our surpise some of them were awarded finally). Natural light feels too complex to implement and it does not sound too beneficial indoors. A bit similar feeling with the screens, especially when there are real exits and windows enough. This needs less artistic miracles, it needs much more concrete actions.
We are pretty comfortable with finding here and there in the shopping center, as long as we walk around concentrated and thoughtful. Then we relax a bit, participate a consumer study about biscuits, and shop a bit. And suddenly: we are completely lost, as a regular visitor. This is a key moment when we start to understand the problem for real. For a designer this dummy a moment may be hard to reach, but it is worth striving towards. Perhaps we just invented the best way of getting there? Relax!
O-ow. This is one of the first notifications in the long row of things that should be done better.
If you do infographics to support your business, make sure what's in control - the visual design guidelines or the UX.
Back at the office we start cleaning the catch. It's clear you get lost in intersections and floor entrances. Addressing and guidance should help. We benchmark how things are done elsewhere, from San Gimignano to finnish shopping centers. We can do better than in any of these, give REDI customers guidelines as good as the ones Hans and Gretel laid on their path (the second time when it worked). It is not immediately fully evident what's the best approach, but we end discussing it up to something that is natural for human finding, and as an addressing system that can be burned to the retinas of REDI customers.
We go back to the venue with our new ideas to verify they should work. We see some more details of relevance and get pretty confident that clinhed a bit further our ideas will make REDI easier to navigate thru. Find companies, metros and out without a map. All we need to do is to present so that the idea gets understood.
We get awarded, among 300+ contestants! There are some other pretty cool ideas too, and if REDI has now a proper UX manager, the best ideas will be put in a carefully laid user test to find out which really work the best. Jurys may find out an array of best sounding proposals, but they can rarely judge how the final user experience is built. Therefore this recommendation of how to proceed. Our idea works we can guarantee, I'm more worried about the other awarded ones ;) No, some of them were pretty cool!
KEY IDEAS OF THE AWARDED PROPOSAL
Key idea 1.
Creating a simple addressing system, easy enough to remember by backbone. Supported by numberings on the ceiling, easy to check both the location and the progress.
We had several specific points that could be done differently, but let's pick this one here: children's contest for producing "art" to the shopping center. This stands for future, creativity and that everyone is as important - equity. *artwork by Saima, 7
Key idea 2.
Naturally positioned and dircted guidings to relevant service touchpoints