I discovered an article in Fast Company about poor wayfinding in the New York City Metro titled Wayfinding in the NYC Subway Sucks. The article examines methods that would help improve wayfinding, which include a mobile application that provides step by step navigation, instructions, warnings, etc. to facilitate a better user experience for the rider. The Chicago Transportation Authority, CTA, was the first to pioneer Global Positioning Systems, GPS, in all of their buses and trains and currently utilize a web based application that provides detailed schedules of public transit. The proposed application is a native iOS or Droid application that provides detailed feedback on small screens. However, it is apparent to me that the article is a bit shortsighted in the fact that it does not identify those who have standard cellular telephones, or what I refer to as "less-smart phones", which are Blackberrys or other online activated device that fail to embrace the benefits of ubicomp, in particularly QR codes. The CTA has circumnavigated this conundrum through SMS but is it a viable format moving forward? Will e-mail ever replace SMS in the United States? Or is something going to take it's place all together?

Another Fast Company article explores the digital evolution of the subway system Why Does Interaction Design Matter? Let's look at the Evolving Subway Experience. After reading both of these articles, I am still left to wonder why cardinal directions are not labeled when exiting the subway system. How often do you walk off the train disoriented in Chicago or New York left to walk out a stair well and using buildings, landmarks, or streets to determine North, South, East, or West? It happens to me every time I travel.

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AuthorDavid Brahler