SINGAPORE: On his way to a company event recently, Mr Zahir Latif got lost – within an MRT station.
The 38-year-old wanted to exit Buona Vista station on the Circle Line to visit The Star Vista mall. Instead, he found himself on an escalator going up from the Circle Line platform to the East-West Line platform, where he had to eventually take a lift down to the ground level and exit the station.
In trying to figure out his way, Mr Zahir, an experience designer, felt “cognitive load”.
In user experience (UX) design, which looks at the experience a user has when they interact with a product, cognitive load refers to the user’s mental strain when they have to think too much to get something done.
“For the most part, good UX design goes unnoticed. People don’t realise it because good UX design should be seamless and intuitive. But bad UX design is almost instantly noticeable,” Mr Zahir told CNA.
In MRT stations, the latter would mean “a lot more confused people wondering where to go”, resulting in more bottlenecks, especially at interchange stations with more than two lines.
On the other hand, good UX design enables different users to get to their location in the “easiest, least time-consuming way”, regardless of their “comprehension level” of the station’s signs, he explained.
This too is the ethos surrounding the enhanced design of the transit signage system that was introduced to MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), as CNA learnt during a preview of Outram Park station ahead of TEL’s Stage 3 opening on Nov 13.
Outram Park station is now an interchange station for the Thomson-East Coast Line, North-East Line and East-West Line.
Through enhancing colours, contrasts, fonts, icons and signbox sizes, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) showed CNA how the revamp aims to help commuters of all abilities navigate the expanding rail network.