Azur to be on display downtown
The model of the metro’s new Azur train will be on display Friday and Saturday on McGill College, a good move because it may catch the eye of people who don’t normally ride the metro.
I have a minor carp about the existing metro interface. On the orange line, the trains now play a recorded dou-dou-dou sound to warn that the doors will close. It’s deliberately a copy of the MR-73′s mechanical current chopper sound, and the STM explains their rationale here and says the dou-dou-dou was the most popular sound as chosen by users.
I suspect the eventual point is to use the sound on the new Azur cars, which is fine because they won’t also be producing the sound mechanically. But at the moment I think it’s precisely the wrong sound, because although the STM page says “the recorded audio signal is slightly different and sounds more electronically-generated than the original one produced by the power converter” they’re still very similar, and if you have two trains in a station both dou-dou-dou-ing away, especially given how many people wear headphones in the metro, the import of the signal is lost.
Am I not right that in designing user interfaces generally, you don’t create one signal deliberately to echo another with which it can easily be confused? As a visual designer, I know you don’t do that – by using two similar but different fonts, for example – and this strikes me as analogous. You want some contrast so’s not to confuse.
Of course, this problem will resolve in time as the old trains are phased out. Still, we’re stuck with it for a couple of years at least.