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April 1, 2011 / matthas

Hospitable Visit

Without going into detail, let me say that my wife & I have spent more than our fair share of time in hospitals. Most of that time has been forgettable, at best. So I was beyond pleasantly surprised by a recent trip we took with our daughter to the north campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Before I had even parked, I had a hunch that this hospital visit would be different from what I was used to.

From patient arrival (you’re greeted by large scale imagery on the underside of the main entrance awning – imagine how many kids arrive in a reclining wheelchair or stretcher) to waiting room behavior (interactive game stations, modular & movable cushy furniture), whoever was behind this build gave serious consideration to the full duration of the patient visit. Kid chairs with fun webbed feet, colorfully shaped ceiling light fixtures, massive window walls, LED clouds (see below) … CCH nailed the “user experience”.

My daughter was extremely nervous on the drive to the facility. Within minutes of arrival, she hadn’t even let her fears get into the window elevators with us. She was more focused on exploring different areas or playing hallway twister with the liquid filled floor tiles. Yeah – liquid filled floor tiles. Awesome.

Now I understand that it’s a children’s hospital, and kids need more than slate floors and beige walls. But don’t we all? It’s a shame we don’t (can’t?) often push the boundaries of intentional design with things that, you know, grown humans use too. There should not have to be a dramatic negative hurdle for us to come up with a dramatic solution. Why not seek out every opportunity to turn even the most mundane project into the best user experience possible?

Instead, we hustle to meet the deadlines, check the box, and move on to the next project – a lifestyle that could put us in the hospital. If we’re lucky enough, we’ll end up in one like CCH.

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