Articles taggés avec ‘paris metro

The next train

Mercredi 17 décembre 2008

I like Paris metro line number 14. It’s the only line, which is never on strike. Why? It is fully automatic. The stations are modern, clean, the trains spacious and light, and the ‘user experience’ is, so to say, very pleasant. Not that I don’t like the ‘traditional’ metro lines in Paris – I do. Even when the stations are a little bit old, a little bit smelly, the light a little bit yellowish, the trains small and crowded, the advertising huge and the strikes as regular as public holidays.
One thing that surprises me as not very well considered, in terms of user experience on line 14, is the traffic prediction monitor. You see a blue screen with small white characters, which you can only read from very close. So, if you want to know when your train is coming, you have to go look for this information. And what will you see? The first and the second train, its destination and the expected time in minutes AND seconds. Something like this:
Saint-Lazare 0min 40sec
Saint-Lazare 2min 40sec
The thing is, on line 14 there can be only one destination in each direction, so why repeat ‘Saint-Lazare’? And does the user really need to know how many seconds still remain? Besides, it will take you some time to figure out, what time it is and the whole monitor looks like an old Windows computer with a permanent fatal error.
Station Olympiades, line 14
Consider, on the contrary, the monitor on most ‘old’ stations. Practically from the any spot on the quay you will be able to read the direction of the line, the current time, the expected time before the first and the second train – in minutes. I find it a fine example of an economical and self-explaining information design, taking into account its visibility and immediate understanding.
Paris metro station
Somehow I find the second monitor to look much more modern than the first.

Here is an older article on information design in Moscow metro.