Insights



Are station ticket machines “confusing”?

Passenger Focus have highlighted the issue of how ticket machines are confusing and difficult to use for rail passengers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10701953.  It is an issue that we have been talking about on this blog and in some of our other activities for a while now. The train companies point to satisfaction surveys as evidence that there isn’t actually a problem.  However, from our experience, this isn’t...

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Multi-touch interfaces in airport traffic planning

We’ve been spending some time recently looking at the potential for the use of multi-touch interfaces in control room design.  It seems to be a strongly emerging technology in the consumer market but so far hasn’t made so much impact in the world of command and control. In digging around we came across this video from American Airlines where they were looking to introduce a...

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How human factors can improve train interiors

How human factors can improve train interiors

As the railway industry becomes more focused on the passenger, the role of human factors in producing good design that delivers what the passenger wants is becoming more important. In this article in the International Railway Journal this month, our very own Mike Stearn highlights the areas in which improvements can be made.  This starts with understanding the different kinds of passengers travelling on the...

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User centered design in times of austerity

As the economic reality tightens its grip on both the public and private sector, what part can user centered design play? Firstly, within projects is it a “nice to have” or a necessity? Our experience is that it is an investment and the pay-off is in minimising the risk of later re-design when it’s found that it can’t be used by the user. Get it...

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Legible London delivers user focused design

Legible London delivers user focused design

Walking around London is being transformed by a wonderful piece of user-focused design (from Applied Information Group).  The two features of Legible London that really work for us are firstly the orientation of the maps to the direction you are facing.  This is different from the traditional orientation of having north at the top but makes so much more sense when walking. The second element...

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What about “standing seats” in transport?

What about “standing seats” in transport?

All transport systems seem to be suffering from capacity and overcrowding posing the question of how can we fit more people  on the train, plane, etc? Perhaps as its usual PR-approach Ryanair have suggested that standing seats might be a way forwards.  This article on the BBC website lines a number of people up to shoot the idea down as far as aviation is concerned...

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Is sitting up straight really ergonomic?

This recent article on the BBC website suggested that sitting up straight to work wasn’t actually as good for your back as previously suggested. …an interesting report suggesting the low-strain result of slouching, we’re sure that the results are right, but what about the conclusions in the article?  The report could easily be misinterpreted The posture may be OK for relaxing (isn’t this what this...

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CERN LHC smashes beam collision record

CERN LHC smashes beam collision record

Having worked on the CERN LHC project to design the control room, we somehow feel part of the project (despite the fact that we understand absolutely nothing about the physics!). So it’s great to see the programme advancing and meeting its objectives – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10430234.stm



Understanding how the train service operates

Much of the human factors work we do in the transport industry is, in the end, about making the train service more passenger and therefore customer focused. Criticising the railways in the UK for being too inward focused on how they operate has often been too easy. One example of this is in how train operating companies explain to the passengers what is happening when...

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The many uses for iPad

People find amazing ways to use new technology and quickly adapt it for their own use.  We spotted this great example of a doctor in Japan using the iPad to make it easier for him to manipulate the images he uses during surgery.



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