Matthijs Mali

ux architect, activator, pragmatic.

I love well designed products

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EuroIA 2017 - Travels

in: UX - 27 September 2017

Left the office in Deventer at 12. After an interesting Value Proposition Canvas session, looking into our customer for a product launch in the US. When arriving home, took my bag and decided to take one train earlier. My girlfriend told me, better safe than sorry. You never know with NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Dutch Railways). Although I don’t like those kinds of arguments for a decision, I went with it.

Walking in the sun to the train station. Saying goodbye with a few loving hugs and kisses. I topped up my chipcard, checked in and stepped into the train. Arriving at the central station I wanted to transfer to the next train, I checked out, checked in again (different transportation companies). But, what do you know. It was delayed. Ha!

My head was racing, as my plane would leave in approximately 4 hours, take the train back to my home and take the car? How long will this delay last? “The time at which this issue will be resolved is still unknown.” Or maybe even take a bus, there was a long queue there already. I checked out and walked there, but got the message that this bus takes ONE AND A HALF HOUR (whereas the train takes 20 minutes) to reach Amersfoort. A definite no-no. I decided to take the train back. Walked back, checked in again and found a seat.

In the train I furiously searched for parking options at Schiphol. I don’t like making expenses, certainly not ones that could have been prevented. I arrived at my station, checked out again and walked home. The small suitcase I was carrying made _a lot_ of noise. The wheels have some bonks inside I guess. I managed to book a parking spot in Schiphol, it automatically selected the today’s date, I selected the return date (4 days from now) and pressed book. Good process. After I booked I checked my watch, and was impressed by the quickness of booking something like that. Expensive, but fast. And then I saw today’s date. 27th of september. The date the reservation ‘automatically’ selected for me was the 28th. Argh!!11 Stress-levels rising. I quickly found a phone number and tried calling. I was quickly helped, although the lady on the phone hardly heard what I said, because of the bonky suitcase wheels :-) She told me to just park, and on returning home, head to an information booth and explain. That will get is solved. Good!

So, goodbyes and kisses again. I drove off and used Google Maps to drive me to P3 at Schiphol. That worked surprisingly well. While sitting in the car I noticed how the AC and the comfort of some music calmed me down. I felt as being in control again.

I arrived at the parking, got a receipt and parked my car. Passport, phone, bank-cards… Check! Walked into Schiphol and grabbed a bite to eat. I got a message from KLM saying that my flight was delayed. Nothing I can do about that but wait. I was glad to already have arrived at the location I had to be.

A few hours of waiting later, the flight appeared to be pretty busy. So people were asked to label a secondary bag, if they had one, to have it stored in the planes storage instead of the overhead compartments. Luckily for me, I had one bag. Ah well, people queued, everybody boarded and the plane took off. One and a half hour later the planes’ wheels touched Swedish ground.

I quickly managed to get to the Arlanda Express, a speedy train that takes passengers directly to Stockholm Central Station. Easy ticket booth, accepted my Maestro card. A proper train arrival countdown (up to the second) made sure I wouldn’t miss the train. The train ride was comfy, shame it was dusk already. So I couldn’t really see anything, apart from some lights.

The central station promised to be an easy ride. Lot’s of clear icons and signs. I knew I had to look for bus 53 towards Sussen. How hard could it be, after all, I’ve seen quite a few stations and terminals across various continents. Well, hard. I followed the signs for “Bus Terminal”, but arrived at a interlocal bus place. With many ticket booths. All closed. Damn.

Asked a person who was waiting if she knew where the regular busses were. She pointed me back to the place where I came from, mentioned some stairs and doors… As I headed back I saw the signs again, which were pointing in the direction I followed. Weird. I decided to try a slightly different route and soon walked out of the station. No busses. What? All I saw was an ocean of taxis. A small bus stop in the distance. I decided to walk there. Only bus 54 stopped there. I walked back to the station, asked some tough looking security guys if they knew. They pointed me back inside the station and told me to ask inside at the information booth. Walking for a few minutes again, I found the information booth being closed. Nice. Some weird bums and hobo’s were going through trash. I felt more and more unconfortable every second. Asked a lady at a starbucks for guidance, but she pointed me back out again. Walked for a few minutes again, in circles. Crossing the street got me back in the same location again. Felt like a dream. Weird.

Finally, after an hour of searching and hauling my broken bag throughout the station area I found a bus stop for line 53. Yay! I asked a woman waiting there how the bus would accept payment. Turns out I needed a special bus card, paying on the bus was not possible. And guess what, the bus was coming within the minute.. Walked to the 7-eleven, bought a daily pass and tried to return to the bus stop in time. When I stepped outside of the shop, I saw the bus arriving. Too far to run. I was fed up and decided to get a taxi. Which I should have done in the first place.

Arrived at the hotel, checked in. Decided to skip drinks, because I was just too tired. Wrote this up and slept a bit in bed. Watched an episode of Abstract on Netflix, on Graphic design regarding text. Came to the conclusion that many things during my trip could have been improved.

What could I have done to prevent all these frustrations? What could change to the services and products I’ve used? Food for thought. And a good start for the EuroIA conference. After all, innovation starts from frustration.