User Experience of travel: Airport to City, Barcelona

27Dec09

After done the trip so many times and every time being annoyed by how crap the user experience is of the airport to city trip. I decided to make a small diary of getting off a plane and getting to Barcelona.

The city of Barcelona wants to be a to tourist destination, known for it’s innovation and good design. And I must say things are not going to bad at all. But where as a visitor do you start. Right, at the airport and obviously the first thing you do is get to the city. By Taxi, piece of cake. By public transport; not that easy.

Terminal 1 or Terminal 2

Recently a new terminal has been build in Barcelona. So would this be Terminal 1 or Terminal 2? I would say Terminal 2. NO! Wrong, the new one is Terminal 1! So if there will be a new terminal in a few years I guess we will change it all around again. How much fun.

Call the New Terminal T1? So what if you add another Terminal? Call it T-1, or change it all again?

Call the New Terminal T1? So what if you add another Terminal? Call it T-1, or change it all again?

You arrive, how to get to Barcelona?

Got it, I have found the sign directing to the train/buses. Funnily it is positioned not in the viewing direction so you have to look at every door what the sign above it says. This seems to be a problem at the gates too.

Where are the Gate numbers?

Which Bus/Train?

So I got to the platform where the buses and supposedly trains leave. First of all, let me tell you that Barcelona aiport must be nearly the only one where the main terminal has no train or metro connection to the city. Great. So what to do? You have to take a shuttle bus to T2 (yep, the old one) and take the train there. But which one is the one that takes you to the train?

Nice buses! Interurban(?!), Special Service, Connection (with what?), or the Left and Right Train, Bus?

Nice buses! Interurban(?!), Special Service, Connection (with what?), or the Left and Right Train, Bus?

(maybe I am too sarcastic, you would take the one with the train icon (if you know there is a train line to Barcelona…)

Roundabout Bus!

As every self respecting suburban town you need to have roundabouts. The more the better and if you can have a piece of art in the middle, even better. So after 5 roundabouts and your luggage all over the place you arrive to the “Old” terminal. By the way renovated 1 year ago. So “Old” is not the word.

Get to the Train

The signalling from here to the train are pretty good actually. Clear and to the point. But now the fun starts!

The Train to bring Foreigners to Barcelona

You are Peter, just arrived from London and you don’t speak Spanish (not taking into account the “una cerveza por favor”). So there we go. You see this.

So where does this train go to? Which platform? How late?

So where does this train go to? Which platform? How late? (Check out the only text: "To the platforms" No shit? Really?)

Sant Celoni?

You wait, and wait (no indication where and when it leaves) and then it comes. Great, you get in. Train reasonably new. And just to be sure you check on the screens inside where the train goes. Sant Celoni? Where the heck is Sant Celoni? I want to get to Barcelona! So why not check the stops on the route…

Where the heck is Sant Celoni? I want to go to Barcelona!

Where the heck is Sant Celoni? I want to go to Barcelona!

B.P Gracia?

You asked someone if this trains goes to Barcelona and after a positive answer you get in. Your hotel is in the centre next to Plaza Catalunya. The first stations appear: El Prat, Bellvitge. On the screen appear the next stations: Barna Sants and B.P. Gracia. You start to get worried, after those there is Clot Aarago. Doesn’t ring a bell either.

New office for BP or maybe "Barcelona Passeig de Gracia" abbreviated

Abbreviate!!

So what is the case here? An over active employee of Renfe tried to abbreviate the names of the stations to a length that fits on the screens turning them into un-understandable stations names that nobody heard of. So how did this person get his idea through? Is there not such a thing as common sense or even better: Scrolling?

A Hint: Next time you get onto this train and you have no idea where to get off, try Barcelona Sants Station (Barna Sans) or Barcelona Passeig de Gracia (B.P Gracia)



One Response to “User Experience of travel: Airport to City, Barcelona”

  1. 1 Rob Goris

    Excellent! Totally agree.


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