If I ruled the world, all driving directions would be formatted like this example:
LEFT on Oak Drive
Go 5 miles
RIGHT on Davis Street
Go 2 miles
It’s constructed in the order you need the information. Too often you see directions like “Go 2 miles on Oak Drive. It’s a left.” You’ll sprain your brain reading the information out of order.
Google Maps comes close to getting it right. They use this format:
“Turn right at Dublin Blvd 4 miles”
The word “turn” is unnecessary clutter. And it always takes me a second to figure out whether the “4 miles” means the turn is in 4 miles or if you stay on that road for 4 miles. And “right” would be clearer in caps.
I have the same issue with travel itineraries. When I book a flight on Orbitz, they e-mail me this little confusing mess of a confirmation that just pisses me off:
“Tuesday, June 5, 2007
United Airlines # 1212
Oakland Metropolitan Oak Intl (OAK) to Denver International (DEN)
Departure (OAK): June 5, 1:57 PM PDT (afternoon)
Arrival (DEN): June 5, 5:20 PM MDT (evening)”
It says “June 5” three times. It says both “PM” and “(afternoon)” whereas “PDT” and “MDT” go unexplained. How many people are confused by AM and PM and yet understand PDT and MDT? It borders on random. And would it kill them to use the tab key?
Here’s how an itinerary should be formatted. You put the times on the left, and whatever info you need to the right of those times, in the order you need it.
For example, the first place I put the hotel information is by the estimated time I will check in. I put people's contact information next to the time I expect to first see them. And I put the date only once, as a heading. See how clear this is.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
11:00 AM Leave house
1:00 PM Arrive Oakland airport
1:57 PM United Airlines # 1212, seat 2B
5:20 PM Arrive Denver
6:20 PM Hilton
8:00 PM Meet Joe Blow in lobby
Those are my travel tips. Do you have any cool travel tips of your own for the comments?