Articles taggés avec ‘moscow metro

Moscow metro: user experience

Mardi 29 avril 2008

The metropolitan system of my native city, Moscow, was probably my first ‘good user experience’ when growing up. In a country not particularly famous for optimal user friendliness or consumer care, the Moscow metro is until today an example of a truly well-conceived user experience. It is built to last and the quality, as always, is in the details.

First, the Moscow metro is the most beautiful of them all, but this is well-known fact. There are not two stations alike, each has its own character. This is not only beautiful, it helps recognize the stations in a glance. The metro is build for the centuries to come, in marble and granite, decorated with golden mosaics, statues and chandeliers. Moscow metro is impeccably clean. Entering a station, especially in the center, is like entering an underground palace.

The metro plan is clever: it has the shape of a spider. Coloured lines cross a circle. This means that to change you either go to the closest intersection with another line, as all ways lead to the downtown, or get off at the circle and take a shortcut. It is an extremely comprehensive system.

When you arrive at a station, a voice in the train informs you about its name (which is the case in Paris only on one line. In Paris you have to pay attention to the name written on the wall). The tone of voice is nowadays friendlier than it was in Soviet times. The same voice kindly says ‘Attention, doors are closing’ and the name of the next station. Besides, on the stations walls there is a representation of the line you are on, showing all the cross-overs and all the stations of the connected lines. This is an extremely helpful feature.

In general, it is impossible to loose yourself in that system, because the information is abundant. Considering the huge distances in Moscow and how many people take the metro every day, it is a comforting user experience. Unless, of course, you cannot read Russian. Then you’d better start learning it.