Easy to clean, hard to read: New information boards at Bonn central station

Easy to clean, hard to read : New information boards at Bonn central station

Passengers who use the underground station at Bonn central are criticizing the small lettering and reflective surface of new passenger information boards that have been installed there.

Bonn native Otto Schröder doesn’t need signs at the Bonn central underground stop to find his way around. But if he did depend on them, he wouldn’t be very enthusiastic about the new passenger information displays that have gone up. He finds the writing too small, especially on the ones that are hanging above the staircases.

An older woman from Cologne who was waiting for the subway could only agree. She couldn't read it very well from a good ten meters away. "And most of all, it glared a bit," she said. "One could have done it a little differently."

The signs attracted the attention of GA reader Johanna Stein. Even though many information displays had been added, "They chose a font size for these signs that is so small that they cannot be deciphered even from a few meters away".

She also criticizes the reflective surface of the displays. "If it hangs under a lamp, the light is reflected very strongly and makes it impossible to read individual lines." She adds that as a person with normal vision, she already has difficulties to make out the wording so she wonders how it is for people who have visual impairments.

One uniform size of font was chosen for the lettering on the signs, as the amount of information to be printed on each side was different, sometimes more, sometimes less - and it all had to fit. "The high-gloss appearance is the result of the anti-graffiti coating applied," says SWB press spokesman Michael Henseler. This, he explains, protects the coating from graffiti and stickers. "These can simply be removed again without great effort and without leaving any residue. This would not be the case with a matt version".

But SWB public transportation was grateful for the feedback about problem areas and would look at possibilities for optimizing the situation. Henseler said SWB had worked closely with the Bonn community of physically impaired to come up with an information display concept.

The original agreement called for this concept to be tested at one stop and then evaluated with users, looking at features such as font size and recognizability. "In the following years, however, SWB changed the procedure and put the concept into practice without this evaluation". In the vast majority of cases, the results were satisfactory. "We also believe that the specific situation involving the displays over the connecting staircases of the platforms at the main station could be improved in terms of font size and glare-free design," said Wiedemann. "We are in talks with the SWB about this matter."

Orig. text: Stefan Knopp

Translation: ck