Live Data Is Great, But Clutter, Not So Much


I really like the automated content approach and utility that start-up TransitScreen is bringing to digital signage, however I can’t help but think the cluttered layout rule that applies to every other kind of digital signage should apply with this stuff, as well.

In short, there’s way too much going on at once on those screens.

Yes, it’s meant as reference points for people who need to get from A to B, and this fills them in. But does the screen need ALL that stuff in one layout, including extraneous stuff like the weather and tweets?

This is the first iteration of what the company is doing in the New York area for property owners:

Bijou Properties has partnered with TransitScreen in Hoboken, NJ, says a press release, to provide real-time, location-based transportation availability to residents 24 hours a day. Updates from NJ Transit bus & rail, PATH, and NY Waterway ferry are showcased on two large HD TVs in the lobby of Bijou’s Park + Garden, a luxury apartment building designed for LEED Gold certification. Bijou’s TransitScreen displays are the first installations in New Jersey and second in the Metro NY region.

“We utilized innovative green building practices and modern technology at Park + Garden to create a sustainable urban apartment building for residents,” says Larry Bijou, managing partner of Bijou Properties. “TransitScreen plays an important role in this by providing real-time, detailed information on NY Waterway, PATH, and NJ Transit to encourage use of mass transportation options, as well as local bike and car share services. This pioneering system will enhance our residents’ daily lives and support our goal of promoting a healthier, cleaner lifestyle for residents at Park + Garden and throughout the City of Hoboken.”

TransitScreen is a Washington-DC & San Francisco-based transportation technology company promoting sustainable urban mobility through access to real time information. TransitScreen displays are time- and cost-savings amenities which invigorate buildings and in public spaces while also offering a sustainable transportation demand management (TDM) tool for transit-oriented developments and large employers. Today, there are live displays in 20 metro areas across North America. Clients span various industries and geographies including commercial real estate, transit agencies, universities, hospitals, tech companies, smart cities, and nonprofits.

Screens, and likely in this case TVs, are so inexpensive that the nominal cost of adding a second screen to open up the layouts and improve viewability would be a great thing. This isn’t advertising where you have seconds to make an impression. The eyes here will go to the information they need. But those eyes will get there a lot easier if there’s less clutter.

Having done time working with real estate developers, I’m fairly certain this is positioned as a nice amenity for tenants. So I’d be doing everything possible to make it work and look as good as possible.

I shudder to think what would be rammed into one layout for a screen in midtown Manhattan, given all the subway and rail options.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes


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  • Brad parler says:

    This is exactly where progressive disclosure is needed. Don’t vomit data on a screen, as never want to consume that.. unless I’m forced to. Thankfully this is a first pass and my hope is that it gets better over time (but for the sake of those forced in to seeing that – soon).

  • Rob Lewis says:

    Fair point but the key point here is your statement “This isn’t advertising where you have seconds to make an impression”. It’s the lobby of an exclusive apartment development, where, presumably aesthetics are of critical importance (possibly why no second screen) and people are not in a hurry as they would be downtown. Having all the info on the screen at the same time enables (possibly older? and less familiar with relying on technology?) residents to choose, at some leisure, which transport method to take for their journey today. No good at all in a fast commuter environment, but it works for me here.

  • Dave Haynes says:

    Brad, yup, cycling different content elements on to the screen would be more effective here, it has to be one screen.

    Rob, I get your point, but think if there is time, as you suggest, Brad’s approach would certainly look better and get the job done.

    The broader point is that this is useful content … and far more relevant to residents than news and entertainment headlines that are more typically used for screens in condo lobbies.

  • Brad parler says:

    Rob & Dave,
    My apologies for making the assumption that this was in a high traffic area as that is just where my head went when i think transit, this is for the masses that needs to move fast to catch their ride. The fact that this is not the case, dwell time is increased and the environment is a bit more casual to me, just my perspective, would then say you need to do something with a bit more production value rather than a raw display of all possible data. Because this example is in a lobby, you have the opportunity to make sure you understand the needs of the viewer, before you provide a solution. Right?

    The fact that there is time to ask that question and engage the viewer, then allows you to see and measure the kinds of information that you are displaying and therefore market that information from that location to those that would consider that useful. If it were me, I’d treat this as a transport concierge and allow interaction and engagement drive the data that was displayed. In the process you gain insights into the lives of those who use your product adding value to your over all offering to the mix.

    I totally agree with Dave, and excited to see what you guys do in providing way more relevant information as we all have our own access to news and information – but don’t always have someone who is presenting us with meaningful information.

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