I blogged about my UXWeek hotel before I headed to DC and again after I arrived (when they have my reservation – expecting me to arrive one day later). Here’s some thoughts about the rest of the experience there.
The elevator had lovely but deadly ceiling lighting. There was no place you could stand (regardless of height or headwear) that would prevent these lights from shining uncomfortably into your eyes. You had to bob and weave to see the buttons for choosing a floor, and then shift around the space inside during your ride in order to minimize the just-outside-awareness annoyance (like when a bug flits near your skin and although you don’t consciously realize what it is you are still annoyed by it).
This sink in my bathroom drove me nuts. Only one control, to the right of the very large and prominent faucet. The control swivels between its current position, let’s call that 6 o’clock, and 90 degrees to the right – say, 3 o’clock. I never managed to get Hot or Cold out of the tap, though, so I never really figured it out. For the first set of uses, I just tilted the control back and got warm enough/cold enough water to do my washing. Then I saw it rotated right, only.
Meanwhile, every time I’d go to wash my hands I’d “miss” because I’d be aiming for the hot tap on the left of the faucet and then I’d get sort of confused with my eyes and my hands when crossing under that huge faucet. It sounds dumb when explained logically, but in terms of instinct, I could just not manage to use this sink easily.
One night I got up to get a drink directly from the faucet and smacked myself pretty hard in the forehead with the giant metal faucet. That’ll make going back to sleep fun.
I hated this sink, but only once I tried to use it.
Looking at the clock radio, I saw that familiar connector and realized hey, that’s for an iPod. I liked the visual branding of the connector; slightly obscure but not entirely so. It semi-subtlely announces what it’s capable of by showing those pins (and connectors are often relegated to the back of the house)
It was really nice to be able to listen to my own music while I was in my room; I made good use of this feature. Sort of a weird interface; I had to keep pressing buttons to get it to play but it was also simple enough I didn’t really mind. I probably blamed myself for not really trying to figure it out – if I had taken 3 minutes to study and learn that would have explained the use model well enough that each action would confidently produce a desired result. But meanwhile, I was getting music and that was good.
Otherwise, the hell just seemed like good ideas that no one really thought through. Lots of half measures that reminded you of the flavor of good service but not the actual experience of it. Every lunch buffet seemed to be missing some implement – gorgeous chunks of chocolate but nothing to cut them with (although maybe it was simply display chocolate we weren’t meant to eat – what a concept) or cold cuts and bread where the bread was rolls with raisins or chunks of baguette that weren’t sliced lengthwise.
The main restroom near the conference was staffed by a guy with bright yellow rubber gloves on. Was he a men’s room attendant? Or was he always in there cleaning? It was pretty unclear and it was of course uncomfortable – how were we supposed to be interacting? No script for that one.
Other people reported the bar and restaurant had lovely tables that seemed at the wrong height for the chairs (or the chairs being the wrong height for the tables). That seemed the theme here – nice looking stuff that was just hard enough to use to make you feel wrong or awkward.
Let’s hope they get this stuff sorted out; I fear they are so far off the mark, though, putting up layers of surfaces without trying them out, that it may never resolve.