Chicago Airport Brilliant Design?

In the past month, I have the privilege to pick up and drop off our parents from and to Chicago Airport four times. $15 billion dollar is put in to build this amazing airport ranking No. 4th busiest airport in the world (Passenger counts). I am thinking how many design and planning, and usability testing involved in this enormous project?

But today I just want to talk about one of function in this enormous airport – parking.

Every time when I drop off people to terminal 3, the car must keep moving. And then I fellow the sign to find a parking-lot. These are sign to fellow but every sign said, “Parking-Lot Ahead next exit $2/first hour”. Soon enough I came back to terminal 1. Allow the airport user to puzzle in their mind? Did I miss a sign? Unclear direction and difficult to navigate, user-center design? Do I have time to think about this? Second time around, I drove very slow about 20 M/H, after passing the last terminal after split from back to airport/exit to city. I found a parking entrance on the left, I turned more than 90 degree to enter. And this is only the beginning, after I entered the parking lot I tried to park as close as possible. I got the parking card “Parking-Lot C”. After one hour in the airport, we all walking out to find our car. Elevator 6 and 7 both can lead us to parking-lot C. when we tired to find the same elevator I came in, I am loose. We found a elevator

Do I suppose to support a team? or find my car? This is a violation of clear direction without distraction for the user. Finally it took us 30 minute to find the different exit and walk a distance to the car. But at the end, it is only $2/hour parking. Does this happen to any of you?


Author: eddyzhuo

Think about your day, seen like brake into two part: online -- offline. And then think about your time when you are shopping in the grocery stores, you will look what is better with a better price. Same thing apply to surfing online, we should be able to identify what is good and bad website, use good product that worthy your time, instead only being passive. Hello my name is Eddy, a master of computer graphics technology student in Purdue University. Let us use the web, think about it, discuss on it, and create a better and friendlier user experience WWW.

4 thoughts on “Chicago Airport Brilliant Design?”

  1. Hey Eddy, I am from Chicago so maybe I am a bit biased but I have to disagree with you on the floor listings in the elevators. While maybe those symbols don’t mean anything to someone outside of the city, they still provide the person with an image that in my mind is generally easier to remember than just a plain number. I have seen this done in many places all over the country including malls, airports, museums, etc. and I always find that it really helps me to remember where I’m parked.

    1. Hello Joe, thank you for your point of view. This a good way for finding the same elevator, but on the way back I can not find the same elevator. Maybe on the parking ticket should indicate more information on what exit door and elevator number instead of only giving the parking lot number, like “parking lot C”.

  2. Many people have trouble with Chicago parking…

    And I have a problem with the elevator buttons. These are posted at an INTERNATIONAL airport. Those teams mean nothing to tired international travelers. It is a good idea to associate a picture, a color (and at O’Hare, even a song) with a certain floor – it will be more likely to be remembered. Some people remember pictures, some numbers, some are auditory learners and remember the songs. But that is based on the assumption that you can associate the song with the team. If you do not care about sports, this is not very meaningful.

    I have seen other implementations – colors, animals, cities/countries, natural landscapes (like the Paris floor, the London floor, the mountain floor, the lake floor) that I think are much more effective.

    This is very ethno-centric – something only Americans would know, and specifically, only Americans who care about sports would know.

  3. I have never had trouble parking at the airport, but I guess I’ve only been there a couple times. I think it’s pretty cool how they do the floors in the elevators, as I am a huge sports fan.

    Dr. V, I do feel they mean nothing to people not from that city, yet a lot of travelers know at least some sports, (i mean who wouldn’t know that the cubs haven’t won a world series in over 103 years) but I digress. I feel people will recoginize these no matter what. I would have an easier time remembering these then what number floor I am on. Wait, I’m on floor 232, oh shoot that’s my flight number.

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