User Experience Beyond the Web

I had the “pleasure” of having jury duty last week. This was the first time I had ever been called for it before, and I must say that the experience definitely left a lot to be desired. It is definitely clear that all of the time spent on user experience on the web ends up providing a better experience for the end user. But my question now is: why isn’t that kind of effort put in outside of the web?

There was basically no part of my jury duty experience that was pleasurable. Let me walk you through how my day went.

Getting Up Early

First off, I had to get up super early in order to get there on time. If I am just going to be waiting around most of the day, why do I have to be there at 8:15am?


So I pulled into the parking lot that they told me to park in, and started to walk to the court house. But wait, I had no clue where to go. There were no signs at all. Luckily I guessed right, or I would have been late.


Since I was going into a court house, I totally expected to have to go through security. I was told that jury duty would probably end up being a lot of waiting around, and I saw that they had wireless internet access there, so I figured I would bring my laptop and get some work done.

First, I had to check my cellphone since it had a camera on it. I’m not really sure what I would want to take pictures with, but whatever, I checked it. I did feel a little lost without my phone though.

Next, I had to go through the metal detectors and put my bag on the x-ray machine. The security officer asked me to take out my laptop and turn it on. I was confused as to why I would need to turn it on, but I hit the button and waited for it to power up. Then, he sees that my laptop has a built-in camera, and tells me that I can’t bring it in.

I looked at him befuddled because I couldn’t imagine sitting with my laptop facing out in the courtroom, taking pictures, and not having someone say something to me. The security officer tells me that I have to take it back to my car. So, I had to walk the quarter of a mile back to my car, put the laptop in there, then walk back and go through security.

Seems a little ridiculous, right? I must give them credit for actually having wireless internet, but not being able to bring in my laptop really pissed me off.

The Waiting Room

Once I got through security and checked in, I was directed to a big room with a bunch of tables and chairs where we would wait for the next hour or so. Of course, the chairs were jammed in together, and there were not enough seats in the room for everyone.

We watched a 15 minute training video, and then the courthouse employees tried to get us to donate money to the court system. Yeah, after you put me in a bad mood because I couldn’t bring in my laptop, I’m sure I’ll jump at the opportunity to give you money.

What a great start to the morning.

The Next Waiting Room

Finally, my group got called to the courtroom, and we stood around and waited for about two hours until we finally got called into the court room to go through the jury selection process.

So again, more waiting, that’s basically what I did all day.

Does anyone think about the experience?

Here we are in a situation where we are supposed to be impartial and have no biases, and I was in a piss poor mood. Why don’t they make these kind of situations as painless as possible? Why isn’t there someone making sure that the experience of having jury duty is not awful?

Just like we devote time thinking about users’ experiences on the websites we are creating; organizations need to consider what those experiences outside of the web are like.