Yet another bad user experience from Amtrak

By | June 22, 2021

It's time for my next installment of "Why is @Amtrak service so terrible? It doesn't need to be this way." Check out the last chapter at https://twitter.com/jikamens/status/1217620947781541889. Today's topic: how to make a pre-trip Covid-19 check form as difficult as possible to fill out. #TrainTwitter 1/

I got a notification on my phone that I had to fill out a Covid form before traveling. The notification said to tap it to open the form. In fact, tapping it did not open the form; it just opened the app, and then I had to figure out how to get to the form within the app. 2/

So we already have two UX anti-patterns: (1) a notification shouldn't say it's going to do something that it doesn't do; (2) tapping on that notification should have taken me directly to the Covid form. 3/

While poking around in the app to find the Covid form, I discovered another anti-pattern: the Android Back button NEVER does what you expect it to do in this app. Ex: tap "trip tools" and a menu pops up. The Back button should close the menu, but instead it closes the app. 4/

Anyway, getting back to the Covid form, you might think you can find the form by viewing your reservation and tapping "Details" or "Trip Tools," but you would be wrong. The only place it's accessible in the app is from the "More" button on the main screen. Absurd. 5/

Tap the "More" button and then "Pre-Trip COVID-19 Check," and it brings you to a web form asking for your reservation number. You might think that this information would be filled in automatically by the app, but nope, You've got to do it by hand. 6/

But it's literally impossible at this screen for you to get your reservation number, for two reasons: (1) you can't go back to the app to get it without closing this screen; (2) RESERVATION NUMBERS ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE APP. Absolutely ridiculous. 7/

I'm not exaggerating. The reservation number isn't on the home screen, isn't on the reservation details screen, and isn't on the eTicket. It's literally not visible anywhere in the app. 8/

Here's how this should work: (1) notification appears: (2) you tap it; (3) Covid check form pops up with your info pre-filled; (4) you read the form and tap the "ACKNOWLEDGE" button at the bottom. Three user actions total: a tap, a scroll to read, and a second tap. That's it! 9/

Nothing I've said here is radical or revolutionary; it's basic good UX design. Amtrak has had, what, a year to get this right? And yet they just couldn't be bothered. Do they not employ any decent UX designers, or do they just not care? 10/10

Originally tweeted by (((Jonathan Kamens))) (@jikamens) on June 22, 2021.

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