More Difficult Than It Needs To Be

I recently had the pleasure of flying back into LAX for the first time in quite a while. [heavy sarcasm] I’ve been fortunate to not have to fly commercially for quite some time. I don’t mind flying per se, but I rather dislike all the hassle of lines, security checks, etc., that flying requires.

As any air traveler into LAX knows, there are an amazing number of options for ground transportation when you leave the terminal. There are shuttles to hotels, shuttles to parking garages, shuttles to rental car agencies, shuttles to take you home, and who knows how many other options. To help prevent complete chaos at the terminal, someone decided to make different color stops for the different type of transportation desired. At first glance that seems like a reasonable solution, however let’s check the implementation.

There’s a Green stop, a Blue stop, a Purple stop, a Red stop and an Orange stop. Apparently they didn’t think too long when they were picking the colors. Somewhere between 9 and 12 percent of the male population suffers from some kind color blindness and maybe 1 to 2 percent of the female population. Plus when you consider the majority of the male population just doesn’t really care about color and basically can’t identify all the colors in the 16 box of Crayolas, you have a huge percentage of people who don’t do color.

Red/Green color blindness is the most common form of color blindness. But some people suffer from Blue/Green color blindness too. So that means Red, Green, Blue and probably the Purple are rather poor colors to pick for van stops. But the real killer is the Red and Orange. At the terminal I was at, they are at opposite ends of the area where vans can stop. It was impossible to tell which one was Red and which one was Orange. I had to walk to one and ask the attendant who was working at the stop what color that stop was. Naturally it was the wrong one so I had to walk all the way down to the other end to the other stop. When I mentioned this to the van driver, he said a huge number of people couldn’t tell the difference in the signs. Apparently many people make the mistake and some get quite upset when the van won’t stop for them because they are at the wrong stop. And if the vans stop at the wrong location, they get fined. If they do it twice, they get suspended. So the vans don’t stop at the wrong location, and the travelers don’t understand and naturally get upset. What a great way to treat the people who are making your business possible.

There are some real easy fixes to this. Maybe use colors that don’t cause an issue. Strangely enough the two best colors, white and black, were absent from the list of colors. No one get’s those two colors mixed up. Or use colors of different intensity, like yellow and dark green. Another option might be to write the word Orange, Red, Blue, etc on sign so every one would know which is which. Maybe numbering the stops could be effective too. It’s pretty hard to mix up Stop #1 with Stop #5.

What are you doing that maybe making life unnecessarily difficult for someone else? Maybe you have customers, co-workers, club members, church members or some other group that you are unintentionally inconveniencing. Try looking through someone else’s eyes and see what you can improve to make it easier for them.

That's worth pondering about.

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