touchscreen subway maps improve wayfinding

Touchscreen Subway Maps Improve Wayfinding



New York City has installed 18 47″ touchscreen kiosks featuring subway maps to improve wayfinding for commuters.

Known as “On the Go”, the kiosks provide users with directions, information about their destination and alerts if there are any service disruptions on their route.

Bystanders who do not choose to interact with the kiosks directly can still benefit from their presence. Every 10 seconds the screen refreshes to display information including estimated subway train arrival times and scheduled departures on the Metro-North from Grand Central. The screens also display safety tips and security announcements.

Touchscreen Kiosk User Interface

The kiosks were originally scheduled for installation six months earlier, but testing found that the technology needed improvement. After making adjustments to the original technology, 18 initial kiosks have been placed throughout the New York Subway system and at Grand Central Station.

The user interface design should feel familiar to commuters who are used to swiping touchscreens on smart phones and tablets.  Users simply tap on the screen to the location they want to go, the kiosk then generates their suggested route. The map can also be dragged to view different boroughs. There is also an option to choose points of interest for a list of New York City landmarks.

For this project, the public’s hesitation to touch a public screen on a subway was taken into consideration. One of the principles of design for this project was one click navigation, to reduce time spent touching the screen. Users are also able to use objects, such a pens on the screen so they do not have to touch the screen directly.

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