måndag 31 december 2007

Train ticket machines

These ticket machines were brought in by Southern a few years ago. They have never been easy to use but at least are more reliable than they were to start with. Even if you know how to use them it does not help if you are stuck behind people who do not. Often they stand with their finger hovering over a keyboard, like someone offered a box of chocolates, who can't make up their mind which one to pick.

The trouble is they have tried to make the machines usable by everyone, but most of the people I know who are not comfortable with computers will not use the machines anyway. In which case they might as well be designed on the assumption that they will be used by people who are familiar with computers, with a windows-style interface, and the keyboard should be a normal one instead of the finicky touch-screen one.

There are now computers with heavy-duty keyboards and trackballs - I saw one the other day on the concourse at Gatwick airport, and that is presumably tough enough to stand up to conditions on railway stations.

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