When User Experience Works: 150 People Survive Airliner Crash

Airplanes pretty much fly themselves today — other than making sure things are working correctly, pilots don’t have much to do when something bad happens.

Example: today’s US Air 1549 flight that crashed into the Hudson River. The Miracle on the Hudson, they’re calling it. I don’t think it’s so much a miracle — it’s a job well done.

Airbus and Boeing spend millions of dollars in analysis to make sure the user experience of their airplanes is easy to use, and can be used in just about scenario, including this one: a bird strike causing an engine failure.

The user experience from allowing the pilot to land the plane in water to getting every single passenger off the plane before it sank is meticulously planned and tested, over and over again. It’s not just a miracle that they survived: it’s intense planning and testing that allowed for this to happen, like a movie script.

Most of our jobs don’t have a life or death aspect to it, but sometimes user experience is life or death. Think about this: there hasn’t been a major airline crash in the U.S. in seven years. That’s amazing, if you think about it. Good user experience plans for user mistakes and eliminates risk. This is the perfect example.

Congratulations to the pilots and the engineers at Airbus for a job well done.

Too bad for Boing Boing — bad timing.

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