Rick Wood’s company was founded to bring some order and logic to how mass transport systems present information – like routes and schedules – to passengers.
It was a tall order for CHK America – because many or most transport authorities had their own way of doing things, and not that many were particularly good at making it easy and familiar for people to find their way around.
But the company has seen a lot of success, and its best practises have been widely adopted. When people take unfamiliar buses and subways in cities they visit, there’s a reasonable chance the information on the signs they see now look familiar and can be readily understood. Ideally, CHK says people should be able to find out what they need in eight seconds.
It’s a mindset smart digital signage people have come to understand … in essence, you have a matter of a few seconds to inform people before they look somewhere else.
All the understanding of how people seek and consume information is now being applied by CHK, through a spinout called ConnectPoint, to digital displays. The company started with big interactive screens, but now the really interesting work is with dynamically-updated, solar-powered e-paper signs at bus stops.
In this week’s podcast, I spend a lot of time talking to Wood about how mass transit users find and use information, and how all this translates from static to digital displays.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.