August 4, 2020

Totally Frustrated! Bad UX in the Wild

Every now and then I encounter a user interface that doesn't work how I expect and it's really frustrating! I find all sorts of poor user experiences, but not all of them annoy me. This one did annoy me! I was trying to book an escape room for my husband and I. I found a local escape room and chose the Rec Room. Note that the listing indicates that the room is for up to 8 players, but does not state a minimum player count.

After deciding what time I wanted, I clicked on the appropriate Book Now button.

Then I noticed I was booking for Wednesday rather than Saturday, so I went back and chose Saturday at 1:00 PM.

However, even though the quantity selector was still set at 2, I could not click on the Continue button as I had on the previous screen. This button was labeled with Select at least 4 [players] and my mouse cursor changed from the hand pointer on the previous page to a no symbol on this page. The no symbol cursor did not go away until I changed the quantity from 2 to 4. But that's not what I wanted.

There is a minimum of 4 players for each room on Saturday and only Saturday. While the button does provide direction (selecting at least 4 quantity), this misunderstanding could have been avoided by making two simple changes.

The first change is on the very first page. Adding 2 players minimum and 4 players minimum on Saturdays underneath the up to 8 players, would have managed my expectations from the beginning. Another change would be to make the default quantity selector be set to 4 players on Saturdays. Repeating the extra text regarding the minimum quantities from the first page would help here too.

And to make things a bit more confusing, the format of the calendar starts on Mondays. While this is common in other countries, it is not the standard here in the United States. I screwed up picking my dates TWICE because I thought I was clicking on a Saturday when in fact I selected Sunday.  I'm glad I noticed because it would have been a real bummer to show up (after an hour-long drive) to find out our reservations were for the next day!

Tell me about a time when a user interface and your experience with it has just driven you crazy! Please share in the comments below.

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