Train ticket vending machine as a reflection of national character?

I can say that I have done my share of world travel and have used train ticket vending machines in many countries, but the NS (Dutch Railways) machine beats them all.

The user interface is bright blue-and-yellow, like the trains themselves that seem like huge children toys. Once you have selected your destination, the available options appear next to it. Here literally all you see is all you can get for this trip. The big touch screen buttons react instantaneously.


Click to see a larger image

The interface is so simple and efficient, it is almost boring. You can get a return to anywhere in the country within seconds, including pay for it, with no prior knowledge of the pricing system. The choice of language is prominent, as the Netherlands is a small country welcoming many foreigners every day. The most common use scenarios are supported first. For complicated travel, such as trips abroad or a certain type of discount, the user dives into a deeper level of navigation.

To encourage the users to give up queueing at the counter, the NS (Dutch Railways) inflicted two measures: a higher ticket price when buying at the counter or in the train, and an online interactive demo of the interface so that the users can practice buying a ticket at home. In my opinion the NS console is not only a high-point of simplicity, but it reflects well the Dutch national character as I know it. In a few words: ‘cut the nonsense, get to the point and be at home for dinner at 18.00.’

Un commentaire pour “Train ticket vending machine as a reflection of national character?”

  1. Leonard Verhoef dit :

    Thanks for the compliments. In my opinion the answer on your question is no. It is not a reflection of a national character. In my opinion it us just cognitive psychological craftmanship. See: http://www.humanefficiency.nl/designers_understanding.htm