Overjoyed as Vietnam football team edged Qatar in a penalty shootout to secure a place in the final of the AFC U-23 Championship, I immediately planned to attend the final game in Changzhou. The only barrier was a visa entry to Mainland of China given there was not much time left until Saturday, and that Australian Day made this Friday a public holiday.

I looked up several express services and found one that would help me to obtain the visa on time as long as my application got submitted to them before 12.00. I glanced at the clock and realised it was already 11.20.

I ran home (1.4km away from office) to fetch my passport, I stormed into Fotolab and urged the owner to get my visa photos done in 5 mins, I quickly printed all required documents such as legal residence certificate, bank statement and employment contract then arrived at the Chinese Visa Application Centre 5 minutes before 12.

“Your application lacks proof of flight and hotel reservation”
– “Just some minutes, I can book it now”

While it took less than a minute to book an accomodation on Agoda with the app already installed on my phone, I struggled so much with the mobile version of Qantas Airline’s website and therefore unable to finish the flight booking before the counter closed.

The problems I encountered during the booking process might not be obvious in normal situation. However in such a rush I wasn’t able to think straight and was inclined to make more mistakes, not to mention the website interface of Qantas had some real design flaws over there.

Out of this experience, I believe that conducting usability testing with time constraint can be a good way to determine whether a website or an application has great UX.

Because time constraint would really test the existence of a desire line, how the users can get from A to B with as few barriers as possible. It would challenge the designer to reduce all the noises that can distract users from carrying out the main task. And it would help to identify all possible errors caused when users are having heavy cognitive load.

This Saturday I would cheer for the team from Sydney then (╥_╥)