Tuesday, September 8, 2009

MetroFAIL- The Trouble with Metrocards

I come from New York, where the subway network is a city within itself. Several interfaces exist in this burgeoning underground network but there is one that I must have at it with. The Metrocard. A plastic and wobbly card that is supposed to retain credit for the turnstile machines, as pictured below.
I wish the city took the old "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" adage. Prior to the Metrocard takeover, the city used tokens, which were far easier to use.
Step One: place token in slot
Step Two: Walk Through

The Metrocard system is more difficult to deal with.

Step One: If you don't aready have a metrocard, you have to buy at the machine
Step Two: Bash your finger into the screen multiple times to pay for the card.
Step Three: Swipe your metrocard into the reader on the turnstile
If this does not work repeat Step Three
(Nine Swipes Later)
Step Four: Walk through the turnstile

Norman's ideas on advanced technology do apply to this interface because the functions that the Metrocard have are all compacted within the data strip on the card. There is not one button on a metrocard that makes swiping it any easier. I've lived in New York all my life, and the one thing I can never do properly is swipe a metrocard. Me and almost all the tourists who invade Manhattan in the Summer and Winter months.

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