Douglas Crets

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Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Travel Apps That Make Sense

View of apron from top floor observation room,...

Image via Wikipedia

National Geographic has a very good list of travel apps that the regular traveler would need to use. Interesting how none of them really exist in the airport space.

Some thoughts, take them for what they are.

Travel is usually about getting from here to there. It’s not often about what is happening now, right here, in front of us. I think it’s because we often think that we know what is happening because we can see it with our own eyes.

I actually think that is not true in airports. Airports fascinate me precisely beause they are filled with an abundance of information that has to do with the immediate airport vicinity. But there is very little information about what is actually happening in the airport. Maybe that’s because people who build airports think that most travelers are concerned only with where they are going, where they have been, and what lies beyond the customs corridor and the arrivals hall.

There are two information gaps that exist in an airport. you spend three hours, on average (it’s a guess), in this information gap. It is the information absence of the physical space — what is around me and what can I do socially, informationally, in preparation for the next thing I am going to be doing. [ed. note: Ironically, the next thing you are going to be doing is either standing in line doing nothing, or sitting in an airplane, doing not much else.]  In other words, there is a huge contextual gap and it is marked by lacking any real information.

The second information gap is an absence of cognitive data about choices:  with whom can I talk; where can I eat; can I get a free sample somewhere?

In many large international airports, I have been shocked to find things I never knew existed in airports, because I had time enough to walk around them. What if I don’t have time, or I don’t have the curiosity to explore? Then, I need to be prompted.  The only thing that can do that is a social cue, I think, or an advertising cue, but marketing like that is often hamstrung by the profit motive. What about just the joy of discovery?

 

 

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