After ripping on the stolen interface at the Monterrey Airport, I spent some time thinking about airport information in general. A few hours later voila!
Remove all visual and informational clutter. Include only the most important elements. No mystery meat.
I used an actual image of Mazatlan, Mexico behind the interface. Custom background images are hot right now and if Wolff Olins can drop it like it’s hot for Aol, we know it CAN be accepted by the masses. Flying to New York? How about a nice image of a hot dog vendor, or maybe a shot of New Yorkers trying to make pizza, ha.
3. Information Hierarchy
What are the most important elements?
Tier #1: Flight number to what location.
Tier #2: Minutes until boarding time, gate # and whether or not the flight is on time.
Tier #3 Have a nice trip. Realistically, there should probably be airline notes here. That would curtail the 100 people coming up to the counter before each flight.
@jossbot and I caught this gem on our way back from Monterrey, MX.
Looks like the designer completely ripped off the iTunes interface circa 2002 and resold it back to the Aeropuerto Monterrey/General Mariano Escobedo International Airport in Monterrey, Mexico.
Besides the fact that this interface is essentially stolen, I want to take a few minutes to point out the interface flaws, how they could inhibit the user experience and next week I will design a NEW interface that solves these problems. We will post it on our blog and Jason Schwartz’s Dribbble.
Monterrey airport, if you are out there listening, we are going to do some hardcore free work for you .
1. The interface is stolen from iTunes.
Interfaces, like design, are intellectual property. Mr. Ives and the crew over at Apple can take legal action against the airport to stop diluting their visual ID and brand.
2. Board, much?
No matter what time, or what flight, ALL TV screens read “abordaje/boarding” at all times. Not to nitpick, but this is confusing. Can’t wait to board my 9:55am flight at 3:20am three days before.
3. Kerning, spacing, leading.
Dios mio. Centered text, weird kerns, weird spacing, text that is full span in interface elements. Simplify simplify simplify. Airports are confusing enough. No need to confuse people with all the mumbo jumbo.
4. AC 9729? LH 9655? AA 8328?
No idea what these numbers are and why they are important enough to make the flight info screen. No planes connected with our flight and any information from O’Hare in Chicago wouldn’t be available yet to display to passengers, let alone, that info isn’t important enough to display to passengers in Mexico.
5. Motion graphics.
Love that the designer threw some scrolling text in there via the “Que tenga buen viaje!” but as the only element in motion, it pulls the users eyes immediately to the bottom of the screen. Also, might not be the most important element to draw attention to.
6. Related information issues.
2 clocks, 4 flight numbers, 3 ways to say “have a nice trip.” The duplication without ample explanation leads to visual confusion. The information hierarchy is kinda weird and I’m looking where to click the “next song” button to play some Color Me Badd.
A clear information architecture with visual cues will clean it up.
7. General interface gripes.
As a designer, seeing a logo with a white background on another color makes me cringe EVERYTIME. Hello PowerPoint. Either figure out a way to create a vector display, or PNG and drop those bad boys transparent-style. If not, there are a million ways to cheat that effect in the design. I suppose Apple didn’t do it first, so the interface thief didn’t know how to achieve it.
What do you think? Hit us back us on Twitter @bbgchicago