Here at Hothouse Design a key principle of all work we do is to make information as simple and as easy to understand as possible. Over the years there have been some excellent examples where a client will come to us with a set of complex data and charge us with the job of turning it into something that their customers will find user friendly.
For example, Veolia Transport needed to update their Perth timetables. The existing timetables, while functional, were not easily interpreted and had what at first glance, appeared to be conflicting information.
Take a look at a sample from their original timetable...
In the legend there are two statements that seem at odds with each other. 'Operates School Year Only' and 'Operates School Holidays Only'. The symbols that explain the two statements are buried in the data and not easily understood.
We thought, why not just remove one of the options? If it isn’t one then it is the other...right? Already becoming clearer!
The existing timetable also didn’t differentiate between weekday and weekend services very well. The two seemed to merge into one mass of inexplicable times which needed quite some study before becoming clear. It is important for users to easily define between weekdays and weekends as times and services are very different for each.
This was easy, just separate the two using clear and simple design. Rearrange the elements to increase legibility and understanding.
The final timetable is a huge improvement on the old version. It achieved our design objectives in delivering a product that has transformed complex to the understandable.
The client was extremely happy with the outcome as were the bus travellers on this route who could now journey with a little less stress.