Cineworld - The unsung hereos of UX

I believe Cineworld deserves some recognition for its User Experience. From booking to collection and from membership discounts to feedback forms - they provide a brilliantly easy interactions which include some robust fail-safe processes.

I love films. Good films, bad films, odd films, new films, old films. I love them all. Generally speaking I prefer watching films at home - with two small kids it's just more convenient. There are some lovely independent cinemas around which offer an enhanced social experience, beyond the film. So it's fair to say I have no hidden agenda with this post. I simply noticed how seamless their systems work.

Film info and showing times arrive in simple weekly email digest. Bookings can be made via the site or via the iPhone app. Along the booking process you can use a number of small, but delightful, features like adding a favourite cinema venue, watching trailers or having an SMS booking confirmation.

Additionally you are encouraged to create a "My Cineworld" account. The account set up very straight forward and can be done via Facebook login or using an email, but ultimately it's a 'quid pro quo' arrangement. You give them data, so they can track which films you see and where. You get a 10% discount off your ticket price and a quicker booking process. They've struck a good balance between pain & reward. For giving up my data, I get cheaper tickets. But it's not a locked out system. You can still access all of the features, apps and processes without an account.

Moving, cancelling and transferring booking is much less of hassle than you might imagine. In fact all of it can be done via the web and rarely do Cineworld fall back on telephone support. A win for digital as far as I'm concerned.

Beyond that the experience moves gracefully from screen to retail environments. The touchscreen ticket collection setup is not very responsive and often faulty. But when it works, you're golden. The realtime ticketing system is so well connected that you can buy a ticket online, from the back of a queue and instantly walk to the drinks/food til to pick them up, just using your payment card. No delays just large salted popcorn please.

Each film you see is followed up with an opportunity to feedback on your experience. This usually arrives the day after, via email. A positive sign that Cineworld are interested in your views and want to improve, but also that they know how to use each comms channel effectively.

Cineworld's cinema venues are not beautiful. Generally they are staffed to a minimum and the film selections are squarely aimed at the middle of the road. But I have the utmost respect for their digital experience. A tip of the hat to whomever is responsible.