For FAQs Sake emerged from an investigation into the digitalisation of the travel agency through the lens of Ryanair’s customer service. The company’s computerised help centre presents itself as an instrument for smooth user experience and speedy troubleshooting. Yet what lies beneath this friendly front is an intricate design for minimising human interaction, in contrast to the old-school, high-street travel agency in which a human face or voice was the primary referent for a customer’s questions and complaints. Taking a mistakenly booked flight as a starting point, the research tactics enta…
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For FAQs Sake

The Ironing Board (Marta Ríos and Miguel Parrrra)

For FAQs Sake emerged from an investigation into the digitalisation of the travel agency through the lens of Ryanair’s customer service. The company’s computerised help centre presents itself as an instrument for smooth user experience and speedy troubleshooting. Yet what lies beneath this friendly front is an intricate design for minimising human interaction, in contrast to the old-school, high-street travel agency in which a human face or voice was the primary referent for a customer’s questions and complaints.

Taking a mistakenly booked flight as a starting point, the research tactics entailed testing every channel of communication available and considering every approach—from the most orthodox to the most eccentric—to manoeuvre the Ryanair help centre. What followed was a prolonged series of unanswered calls, endless form-writing, opaque phone menus and desperate FAQ reading. Out of these fruitless exchanges a sense of frustration unfolded, encapsulating today’s digitalised and dehumanised travel agency.

These frustrated learnings have been channeled into the GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines Help Centre. Do you have a question, complaint, or simply want to gossip about the geopolitical forces shaping design today? The agents are here to assist you, please find them at the front desk. If you need to contact them out of hours, call +31 85-400 444 0

Bio

The Ironing Board is a design-critique-turned-design-comedy duo formed by Marta Ríos and Miguel Parrrra. The duo explore methodologies to play with contemporary notions of how the performance of design ‘should’ based on current understandings of authorship, public representation and institutional critique.

Contacts

theironingboard.cam Link

@the.ironingboard Link