London’s Transport System Redesigns Status Screens To Improve Viewing Experience

September 20, 2019 by Dave Haynes

I can’t find the official word from Transport for London but have now seen a couple of separate references to that city’s mass transport system testing what I would say are improved status update screens on the Underground system.

The information layout and presentation on 400 or so Electronic Service Update Boards (ESUBs) across the subway network are being redesigned to make the screens easier to read, particularly for passengers rushing by and wanting only to glance.

The simplified design uses larger fonts and less information, localizing the information to that station and connecting lines, instead of showing everything in much smaller type.

“We are always looking at how we can improve our digital signage to make it clearer and more tailored for our customers,” Ben Gammon, Head of Digital at Transport for London, told the London-centric blog IanVisits. “This new layout of our Electronic Service Update Boards will help make it easier to see whether lines which serve their specific station are affected by any delays or planned closures. We expect all signs on the Tube network to be updated in the coming weeks, starting with the Jubilee line, and the new layout will also be introduced across other TfL services later this year.”

Big improvement and a lesson for content designers and solutions providers. At least a couple of things are at play in a scenario like a subway station:

1 – People are on the move and want to glance, not stop for a long, leisurely read. That means big fonts and limited information. The same could be said for many digital signage and digital OOH scenarios.

2 – Forcing people to stop and read, and potentially huddle around these things, may easily create an obstruction and hazard in places where people are hurrying in and out. Station operators want people flowing in and out in entrances and other chokepoints, not forming little crowds around screens.

  1. Paul Fleuranges says:

    This is an excellent change. What makes this even more impressive is that these are digital screens which are dedicated to customer information, making this extremely valuable real estate even more crucial to the customer along their journey. This change will make these screens even more of a trusted source of information for commuters who rely on the Tube every day.

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