Out & About: DFW Airport’s Touch Screen

I recently travelled to/from Detroit and saw various IOOH experiences in both airports (Detroit & DFW).  I’m always trying to catch standby on earlier flights out of Detroit so I have yet to stop and capture those IOOH experiences.  I’ve seen two different ones there and every time I’ve gone by each of them (since last October), no one is interacting with them.  I keep telling myself that next time I’m here, I’m going to capture them.  Next time.

When I got back to Dallas, I passed these touchscreen experiences in the baggage claim area.  I’ve passed these thousands of times and just like Detroit, I haven’t ever seen anyone interact with them.  So I decided this night, I would give them a run and see what they had to offer.

Some good, some bad.  Let’s break it down.

Purpose – clearly, the purpose is to help travelers find “things to do” in the DFW area – Accomodations, Dining, Transportation, Shopping, and City Attractions.  I think this is a good idea, but I wish each category had more content.  From the standpoint of accomplishing its purpose, I’d say it halfway did because it shows me things to do, but it doesn’t show me everything I can do.  It suffers from a lack of deep content.

Drama – well, as you can see by the entire, wall-length unit, there’s no missing the fact that this is the place to find information about the area.  The screens within the unit get lost, but I do like the fact that there is a big, static map.  That, in and of itself, could attract visitors, then they’d see the touchscreen.  Once they see that, even though it’s up in the top corner, there’s a blinking red call-to-action enticing (doesn’t it scream enticing) people to “Select a Category.”

Usability – this is a web-based experience and the paths throughout the experience were linear.  There is only one way to go until you dead-end and even then, you only have a few options (Learn More, Print, etc..).  It’s simple.  This type of experience is good for the everyday visitor/user.  If anyone ever interacted with this thing, I have to believe they could navigate where they wanted to go pretty easily.

Interactivity – this was touch-based only (single-touch) and was very responsive.  Once I got into the experience, I wish everything (like the map) was “clickable” but for the most part, this reacted exactly as I would expect.

Information – this is where I feel the experience really fell down.  If this is to enable visitors to find the things to do in DF, it doesn’t completely deliver.  It certainly doesn’t deliver on the best things to do in DFW (which would be a great category).  As you can see, the first hotel area that I selected didn’t have any listings.  This isn’t right.  I’m not completely familiar with airport/city partnerships, but the DFW metropolitan area has multiple websites from which to pull the information for this experience – any of them would make this experience richer than it is.  The one nice surprise was on one of the “Transportation” printouts.  Using this kiosk, I am able to redeem the printout for $2.00 off on my return trip.  In theory, this is a good way to get repeat service, but they are missing a huge opportunity for business by not advertising this deal in this experience.  I wouldn’t have known that I could get this discount if I didn’t randomly select this particular path.  (It would also be a great way to get people to interact with the entire experience – other companies could offer the same thing.)

Personalization – this discount ticket was the extent of personalization in this experience.  It’s a step in the right direction, but as a user, if I don’t know that this offer is waiting for me, I’m likely not going to ever see it.

As a bonus, I stopped by a kiosk at the end of the “Welcome to DFW” unit to see what it had to offer, and as you can see, it’s different content.  I question whether or not they need to be different or if they could just be lumped into the same experience.  From an experience standpoint, it could easily be integrated and not hamper the current experience.

All told, interactive touchscreens with this sort of information in airports are a great idea.  But the execution here is lacking on a number of fronts.  Pull me to it, attract me, give me an impression of the city by this experience, and make me want to find out this sort of information through this channel vs. something like my mobile phone.  Yes?

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