I want to take a moment on this first day of the New Year and publicly recognise a great user experience for a change because we, in general, don't do that enough.
It isn’t that good designs are or should be invisible, as Dan Saffer broke down that myth here.
More simply, I think it's easier to identify the discrete experiences that annoy us because there's something tangible we can point to and go, "See here? This irritates me! Let's not do this." Inversely, a design that allows us to successfully accomplish our goals without too much friction isn't as easy to explain how we feel with a single screenshot like, "Wow. Everything about this task flow was fantastic. We should try to follow this in our own designs."
For me today, it all started with buying movie tickets.
More specifically though, I cognitively realised there was a problem with a flash of panic when I was reviewing my Events Cinemas booking confirmation email and saw that somehow I accidentally purchased movie tickets for today instead of tomorrow like intended. I do recognise in hindsight that there could have been a usability issue in the buy journey that led me to think I had properly booked it for tomorrow yet ended up with the wrong day, it didn't matter at this point as I just needed to get these tickets fixed.
My first thought was, "S**T!", because of course it was haha, followed immediately by, "Ugh, I guess I'll need to call the cinema now to get this sorted. I hope they can change it without a fee, or worse, telling me there's no refunds. But what if they're not open yet or don't answer? This is going to be a pain…"
This was supposed to be a good story though and it is.
Right below the ticket barcode on my confirmation email, they had added bunch of buttons which I had never consciously reviewed before, yet in this moment of desperation, I noticed a saviour: the "Change Session" button.
My eyes lit up as I tapped on it and, well, I had to tap on it again when it took me to the webpage that looked the same as my email, but at least then it took me to a new page where I could not only choose a new date or time, but even a different movie if I wanted!
Perfect! I got to pick the new showtime that I had originally wanted in all of about 15 seconds or less. Best of all, I didn't need to make that expectedly troublesome phone call. I can’t remember ever seeing this option at any other theatre before, but it may just be that I hadn’t noticed it as I hadn’t needed it before as is human nature.
Have a happy New Year!