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China UX Revisited

Christchurch NZ Bus

Once apon a time, well, a few days ago actually, in a country far far away – we are talking about Christchurch City in New Zealand – councillors decided it was time to redecorate the city buses. Good for them too. In some of our travels we find the often dull grey or lifeless beige biscuit tins on the wheels quite depressing.

So Council set out to research the situation. Quite right too. After all, it is ratepayers money, need to get all the tea’s crossed and eyes dotted. $93,887 worth of research including concept development and “cultural narrative development” – whatever the heck THAT is – later, they went ahead and painted the fleet a nice shade of teal blue, as shown in our head image

The thinking behind the design and colour was to “reflect the city’s links to water.” Hmm a bit of a tentative link there. But OK, nice clear blue water and clear blue sky, sort of mimics the ChCh landscape and environment. It’s also known as “The Garden City” so maybe images of trees, birds, butterflies and colourful flowers might have injected a bit more life? Much better than the hotchpotch of brightly coloured busses that used to ply the city routes. So, it seems the guys and gals did a great job. Well, maybe.

You see, first off, we need to decide who uses buses. Ok, most everyone at some time or other. But there are segments of any community who are perhaps more dependent on public transport than others. Senior citizens for example. Or those with infirmities or disabilities that make driving hazardous or inconvenient for them. Of course, as part of the $93,887 cost, these vital considerations would be top of mind. After all, isn’t “Customer First and user Experience” the battle cry of every business and organisation today?

Seems not.
Shortly after launch they ran into a few obstacles. Notable the “visually impaired.” OK, maybe We could have written that more clearly, but you get the idea. No? Oh, well it seems that the nice teal blue was a tad too much representative of ChCh environment. Some members of society, those with vision deficiencies could not see the darned things coming.

Now, this all happened back in September this year, yes, some 4 months ago. Seems the Council only found out about it this week. The Councils response? After acknowledging a failure to actually communicate with the people who depend on public transport most duh, they went on to blame Covid and the lockdown, which prevented the normal level of consultation from taking place. Oh come on! How many more times must we hear this from brands and organisations?

This cartoon from Tom Fishburne sums it up nicely.

So how is this relevant to China biz?

OK, so the link may be a bit tenuous, but to be frank, with due respect, if you have to ask, then you’re not ready for the China market. In fact, probably you should not be in business at all. You might find this link to China User Experience and China CRM useful or helpful courtesy of our sister site; Uengager.

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