Some things are very predictable

Posted by Craig Saturday, 25 July 2009 ,

Just like the sun will rise in the morning (not that we'll necessarily see it!) some things are highly predictable...

A ticket machine at Cambridge Station won't be working
Yes, this one really is as predictable as the sun rising ! This is getting repetitive, but the obligatory picture is below. Note the variation this time on the theme- no longer a rough paper note typed by someone who doesn't know how to format correctly in MS Word, but instead a message conveyed by the machine:

Note to any tourists: yes the UK really doesn't do ticket machines well and we know it. We haven't quite understood yet that the purpose of a machine isn't to take up valuable space and waste electricity. We love queuing and also paying people to hang around checking tickets.

Trains will be disrupted due to strike action
I love that fact that we jest about having an integrated transport system in the UK. To be honest, the only integrated aspect I have ever seen is the ability for union officials to bring the entire transport system to it's knees. Perhaps that's the solution- just have the unions run the transport system ? Oh, hang on, isn't there a book by George Orwell about that ? Of course I'm joking, there is absolutely no way the country can go back to the 70's/80's joke that was British Rail crippled by strikes and bad service, stale cups of tea and 3 day old egg/cress sandwiches !

Self Service Machines will have poor User Interfaces
I've blogged about this before, but why do self service machines (designed for efficiency) have such poor user interfaces ? I reckon no studies at all are undertaken to figure out the user interface model that works. Instead some 23 year old from a red-brick University gets a job coding (likely in some 1980's programming language) the user interface and just drags random boxes into a design screen (a bit like a children's toy game).

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