Accessibility and Immediacy

Whilst I process the amazing presentations, talks and general chats that happened at SocialNow, I wanted to put together a quick post around the ideas of accessibility and immediacy.

Imagine the situation. You are an airport and have thousands of people moving through your building every day. Most have a very predictable path. Land, get of plane, walk to baggage claim, go to the exit. On the way, they have to go through various checks. Customs, passport control, security etc.

All of these people are in a hurry, they have a goal and want to get to it as fast as possible. Your problem is, you want to find out how they have found the experience of going through the processes in place at your airport. How was the flight, how was the security, how was baggage claim etc.

The traditional way would be to ask them to fill in a survey. This could be done by randomly selecting people as they tried to leave the airport, as a survey they have to fill in and post back or even online after they have got to their destination. However, each of these has an issue.

No one likes their path to be blocked by someone holding a clipboard – especially fter a 6 hour flight, when all you want is to get to your hotel or see your family. You are not likely to get reasonably thought out responses with this. The other ways all rely on memory of the experience. They rely on people remembering how it felt to go from the plane to the exit. What they did and didn’t like.

There are two issues here. The first is that many people won’t bother to fill in the survey (unless there is an incentive of course and even then you can’t guarantee that they are telling you the truth or what they think you want to hear). The other is that if they do fill in the survey, they are doing it from memory and anyone who watches CSI knows that memory cannot be relied on!

So, knowing all of this, it seems that some clever people in certain airports have come up with a simple yet brilliant solution. At each major stage of your journey around the airport, they have placed one of these.

Accessibility and Immediacy image questions boxAccessibility and Immediacy

Each one has a question. In this case, “How was your baggage delivery experience today?”. All you have to do is press one of four buttons, from happy face to angry face. If you then feel you want to say more, you can fill in a short feedback card as well.

This is brilliant in a few different ways. The first is how simple, accessible and immediate it is. You don’t even have to slow down to tap the button you want. It also prompts you then and there to think about a certain stage of your experience – rather than having to remember all of the stages at once in sequence. As I walked from the plain to the exit I saw three or four of these, asking about how my experience was. I clicked the appropriate face on each one. The other brilliant part was the use of four buttons. It is easy to think that giving four options over three is making it harder, but it actually forces you to make a meaningful decision rather than just opting for sitting on the fence at each one.

All in all, I think we can learn a lot from this. Whilst they cannot ask all the questions that they could in a full survey, it does allow them to get meaningful feedback on key questions from a much larger number of people. It breaks down the goal, to make it much easier for people to achieve and in some minds is a bit of fun, especially compared to a survey!

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