By Mason Johnson

Have you noticed more digital signs popping up at Chicago Transit Authority train stops the last few years? They’re great for predicting the arrival of trains, but one Chicagoans thinks they could be even better.

In a post on Medium, designer Ian Hall lays out the multiple design improvements the CTA could be taking advantage of with their digital signs.

“With a few tweaks and a focus on the customer experience I think the CTA’s new digital signage can be much more effective,” Hall wrote in his post.

Hall first examines the current signs, which rotate things like the time and weather, along with train times, in 10-second intervals. The first thing Hall noticed with the signs are the gaps taking up space when train times are displayed. Because of the amount of space the CTA is wasting and the amount of time the information is displayed, commuters may not have enough time “to see anything more than one information cycle which may or may not be applicable to [the rider].”

With this in mind, Hall embarked on a mission to design better signs for the CTA. His goals were simple:

  • Support multiple train lines on one platform.
  • Show which direction the train is going.
  • Show how far away the train is.
  • Show how often trains will come.
  • Show system alerts.
  • With these things in mind, Hall sketched out ideas for his dream sign. From there, he consulted colleagues, who helped refine Hall’s designs. He even consulted Chicago’s local Reddit page and the DePaul HCI Facebook Group, receiving feedback from Chicagoans on the Internet.

    The results? A pretty useful and informative sign.

    You can see one of Hall’s two examples of a better sign below. See the second example at Medium.com!

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