MuniNow
These are screenshots from a functional demo (called MuniNow) that would ideally replace the incredibly crufty status panel that is presented at all the underground Muni stations in San Francisco. I wrote this demo in about 3 hours using JavaFX Script. It uses subtle animations and crisp scalable graphics to present clear information to Muni patrons.

Ever since Muni installed new widescreen displays in all their stations last year, I've been disappointed with the interface. It's embarrassing. If I was from out of town, I would have no idea what the signs mean. Even when I stand right up close to the screen, I can barely read the information. If my eyesight was just slightly worse, I wouldn't be able to read them at all. After staring in frustration at the display at Montgomery Station one day in May 2008, something inside me snapped and I decided to go home and do something about it.

Compare my design to the new status display (courtesy of Curbed SF) currently being beta tested by Muni.

I feel that my version, even in its infant state, fixes a number of shortcomings in both versions offered so far by Muni. Most importantly, it provides arrival information, which is the most useful piece of data these screens can provide in the first place. It only shows the status for the surrounding area (if I'm at Powell Station, why would I care what trains are currently at Balboa Park Station?). It even provides an (optional) space for advertising. (I'm not crazy about our Muni stations looking like giant billboards, but if it means more money for the system, then I'll accept it.) It even shows the current date and time, something that's not typically visible when you're stuck underground. Last but not least, it looks clean and polished. We're a tech-savvy city; even if our stations aren't very modern looking, the least we can do is give a futuristic look to the signage.

Back in May when I wrote this demo, I was going to offer to help the city update their displays on a voluntary basis. If they are interested in getting feedback from us citizens on this project, I hope they'll find this prototype useful.

A live demo is forthcoming. I'll also try to provide a video to help demonstrate the animated transitions in the design.
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