Improving wayfinding at Melbourne’s busiest train station
I remember a couple of years ago posting on a social media site “Why are the digital displays at Flinders Street so badly organised?” To me, these 6 screens were just a list of trains with no logical sequence. I couldn’t figure them out. They weren’t sorted by departure time or platform number, and they weren’t in alphabetical order.
The tirade I got in response from my train-nerd friends, made it very clear that I was a bit dim because obviously they were sorted by “line groupings”.
So I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work on this redesign project with Public Transport Victoria (PTV). They were very aware of the limitations of the current design, and had an opportunity to make some changes to align with the new colour coded train network map.
The design team at PTV did all the actual design work on this project. Our role at Meld Studios was to help them test with passengers and iterate, and then test and iterate again (and again, and again, and again…)
It was one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on. This was partly because of the amazing PTV design team, partly because we were doing something tangible and physical, and partly because we were making a difference to so many people — more than 110,000 commuters pass through Flinders Street Station every weekday.
What we did
We created a prototype station in a warehouse and over the course of a week, we ran 5 testing sessions with 6 participants in each session. We iterated the designs after each session based on what we learnt.
We paired each participant up with an interviewer so they were one-on-one for the whole session. We asked participants to “think out loud” so that we could not only watch what they did, but understand how they were thinking about it.