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News Article

6th April 2022

A good example of bad UX design

Written by Rob

A poor user experience is bad for businesses and is detrimental to customer satisfaction. Let’s dissect an example of a broken user journey and explore a possible solution to help give users a more intuitive and meaningful experience.

User experience is everything

Bad UX is everywhere, it’s inescapable. We see it everyday, from confusing doors that you’re not sure whether to push or pull (also referred to as a Norman door) to traversing the myriad of menus on Amazon just to return an item. Any encounter that forces its user to take a step back and think “how do I accomplish what I need to do?” is a bad user experience.

Designing a good user experience is to humanise your product. It’s designing an app so straightforward that even your gran could use it. The easiest way to identify a good UX is realising that you never even had to think about it at all.

Being a UX Developer comes with the curse of always being bothered by the design choices that create a bad user experience. Like when you’re trying to read the synopsis of a movie on Netflix, only to have the trailer immediately start blaring through your speakers, or the fact you can’t actually purchase any books on the Kindle iOS app (granted this is a deeper issue concerning Apples in-app purchase policy, but the point still stands).

"The easiest way to identify a good UX is realising that you never even had to think about it at all".

A broken user journey

As the resident film nerd at Zest, it’s safe to say I watch a lot of movies. I love nothing more than going to the cinema, overpriced popcorn in hand, ready to see the latest Marvel flick. So much so that myself and my partner are both Odeon Limitless members. Yes there’s a cost to this but it’s worth it – along with unlimited viewings, we get discounts, member screenings and let’s be fair, a sense of exclusivity, of belonging to something more than just a visit to the cinema.

Why then does Odeon insist on marring this experience by making booking tickets so irritating? The problem lies within the myOdeon app. From its confusing error messaging to its inconsistent UI, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of good UX.

I often use the app to book cinema tickets for myself and others and as an Odeon Limitless member, the experience is made all the worse. As a Limitless member, shouldn’t my experience be even better? At a brand and sales proposition level that’s what has been sold to me. Mismatch of expectation due to what has been promised (brand does this implicitly, sales does it explicitly) draws even more attention to an already bad UX.

The purchase process in particular should be simple, however you are unable to book tickets for more than one limitless member. Meaning that if my partner and I want to go see a movie, we are required to book a ticket separately on our own devices and hope that we can get a seat next to each other.

There is a fundamental rule of UX design being broken here in that the app forces its users to come up with their own work around to accomplish their task, which can only lead us to believe that the UI is broken.

"There is a fundamental rule of UX design being broken here in that the app forces its users to come up with their own work around".

A possible solution

It’s evident from their Twitter feed that I’m not alone in feeling this way:

So what changes can we implement to improve this? Well, we have already identified the problem and the solution should be rather simple.

As you can see from the below screenshots, the current myOdeon app only presents you with a rather unclear error message when you attempt to book more than one limitless member ticket.

One of the possible solutions for improving this would be to allow the user to select more than one Limitless ticket using the quantity selectors next to the Limitless ticket type. Selecting more tickets of this type would then display additional inputs, allowing the user to type in a Limitless membership number. A button would then also be visible labelled ‘Verify Member(s)’, once pressed, in the backend the system would verify if those membership numbers are linked to an active Limitless account. If so, the app would then allow you to add that additional ticket to your purchase.

As I said, a rather simple solution to an irritating problem.

A full mockup of this version can be seen below, including some additional design updates (just for fun).

Final Words

The difference between a good and a bad user experience is a design that has the end user at its heart. Our designs need to be in sync with the intentions of the user, meaning we should be iterating at every stage based on user feedback and testing to ensure that our software is intuitive. There is a reason that UX designers need to be empathetic, and it’s to ensure we can understand our users and their needs and design something that just…makes sense.

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