Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of New Tech City, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get New Tech City shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
NY MTA Launches Weekender Website (Again) to (Re)Clear Up Info Clutter
Friday, December 09, 2011 - 05:10 PM
The NY MTA unveiled another redesign for weekend service announcements today, The Weekender website 1.5. If that sounds familiar, it's because it is. This version of the special weekend edition of mta.info website is a revamp of the a previous Weekender launched in September.
Before that it had been paper announcements posted in stations that took about as long to decipher as a crosstown bus ride. The problem: the list of trains out of service for weekend construction projects is long, massive, ever changing, and perpetually perplexing to riders.
So the MTA is making a concerted effort to assuage ride anger at confusing weekend service disruptions. This quick iteration adding design tweaks is a sign the agency is taking messaging more seriously than in years past.
In the press release announcing Weekender 1.5, the MTA touted that it had responded to rider criticism of the first edition and incorporated some of the suggestions that poured in. There is now a searchable station box to find info on your station faster, more zooming, and some color changes--though it's still hard to notice out of service lines and stations if you're not that astute at noticing coloration.
In the image above the shading indicates that the B, D, and Q lines are out of service for instance. Below, you can see the Dyckman street station on the 1 line is out, it flashes on the web version, but is still easy to miss. (Arrows ours)
The best part about the website though has nothing to do with planning your trip. You can dive in to a beautiful triumph of design and scroll around a modified version of the iconic Massimo Vignelli 1972 subway map, a treat for graphic designers, cartophiles, and transit buffs alike!
If this interface doesn't suit your fancy, there's still third party apps like HopStop that integrate the same service disruption information in different formats that might be more useful.