Photo of a generic airport terminal with boarding gate numbers in yellow.
Image via Pixabay is for illustration only. This is not the airport mentioned below.

A bunch of fellow travellers and I were flummoxed at an airport recently. Our boarding passes and the monitors said to go to Gate 7. But we could only locate a Gate H7.

Several staff we asked were equally confused. They radioed in the question, and received seemingly bemused and murky responses which shed no light on the matter.

What a user experience fail!

Taken at face value, Gate 7 is obviously not the same as Gate H7.

As it turned out, Gate 7 was hidden inside Gate H7. You could not see nor get to Gate 7 without first entering Gate H7 and passing the security checkpoint.

An airport is a high-precision information environment. You have to get information right to get to the correct place, and for the correct things to happen. As a high-security environment, if you don’t, bad things can happen.

The devil is in the details. This poor wayfinding design was clearly not quite fit for purpose.