What non-design related experience needs improved?

I recently got asked this question and it sparked some thoughts. What have I done recently that has made me frustrated and desire an improved user experience? Apart from interfaces which I consider on a daily basis, what could be done better in other aspects of life? As designers, it’s interesting to think about life as a never-ending, iterative experience. How is what we’re doing working and how it is not?

As a resident of Chicago who regularly uses the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the subway systems, I know what utter hell it can be. I’ve lived in other cities in which transportation is replaced by a different hell, traffic, but here in Chicago its dealing with trains that has added a lot of stress to my life. As an introvert and non-lover of being held captive in closed in spaces with lots of humans, I usually wear headphones and listen to music to retain my sanity. If a train is delayed, there’s a problem up ahead, the conductor will announce it on the intercom. The problem is when wearing headphones, sometimes you don’t hear things.

One solution? Remove the headphones, deal with it, so I can hear any possible messages over the intercom system. But I was thinking about it the other day, why not provide more means of accessibility when it comes to these important messages on the trains? If you were deaf, you would not have any means of receiving the message. Even as I have fully functional hearing, sometimes I wear headphones and sometimes the message is plainly inaudible. I thought, why not have a scrolling message on a screen to mitigate this problem? It seemed so simple. Maybe some sort of voice recognition or even simpler, buttons that initiate auto messages out of a series of options. Most of the time the message fairly formulaic. The train is delayed or stopped or will be running express to certain stops. In fact, this idea of providing information about the trip on screens could go even further. Which stops are most people traveling to? What is the ETA for each stop? I look this up quite frequently and it seems like information that would be fairly easy to provide.

In any case, just some experience related brainstorming from a curious design thinker. Let me know your thoughts! :)