Metrovision gets an update, and another

The new Metrovision layout

Last week, MetroMedia Plus, the people behind the Metrovision screens in high-traffic metro stations – which show news updates and ads on giant screens but also helpfully tell us how long it’ll be until the next train arrives – gave it a design update.

The old Metrovision layout

The new Metrovision screens as they first appeared

The screens still show the same information in the same places along the top: the time (though now with the date underneath), the Metrovision logo, the weather and the times of the next departures. But it’s the last one that doesn’t seem to have been thought through so well. The new digits are noticeably smaller, include a useless leading zero, and have lost a lot of contrast. Instead of being white on dark blue, they became light blue on white.

I noticed the result easily as I transferred trains at Berri-UQAM: While under the previous layout I could see the time to the next train at a glance from 50 feet away, with the new layout it became a blur.

I wasn’t the only one to notice. A few complaints were made on Twitter, prompting the company to quickly promise changes.

Within a few days, the layout had changed slightly. The light blue text became black, and the size of the numbers were larger, making them easier to see from a distance.

If only someone had thought to conduct usability testing before the system went into effect…

Didier Lucien mimes things into the Metrovision screen


Meanwhile, Metrovision has brought on Ze Mime, Didier Lucien, to act out stuff for advertisers. Since Metrovision doesn’t have sound, this kind of makes sense. Maybe even “a dynamic way to advertise,” as the release says.

But I don’t see how useful a mime will be at talking to us about transit schedules and news. How do you mime “ralentissement de service sur la ligne orange”?

More details on this from La Presse Affaires and InfoPresse.

15 thoughts on “Metrovision gets an update, and another

  1. Guillaume Theoret

    Another case of people having something that works, and, feeling useless, break it because otherwise they’d just be sitting around all day doing nothing.

    “Don’t fix what aint broke.”

    This “update” is worse in every way than what they had before.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Please don’t tell me that part of the STM’s budget is now employing a mime???

      The design and the mime campaign are all Metrovision, which is a private company. It’s not going on our dime (at least, not directly).

  2. DH

    The minutes till the next train are now harder to read while quickly scanning so you have to stop walking and focus hard on the top left corner. It used to say 3 minutes now its 03 minutes…. what’s the point of that. I believe all of this was done to make it harder to just glance at the time so that you actually stop and watch the ads.

    1. Neumontréal

      Quite possibly! Advertising revenue is not quite what it was these days, so for the STM to get more bang for its tele-dollar it probably wants to make sure its advertisers know that viewers will be squinting and straining at its screens for a minimum of 5 seconds.

      Ever watched the people who are standing there watching the TVs? That is so creepy (and disappointing). Some try to not watch but get sucked in ….

      1. DH

        That’s totally me, even though I hate advertising I still watch those screens since its usually the only thing interesting going on.

  3. Usabler

    The new design is very unstructured and the “minutes to next train” number is _extremely_ hard to read. At least the circle around the number should be removed. The first time I saw this design, I thought they had removed the old system and replaced it with only advertising because it looked that little like an information system.

  4. Bill_the_Bear

    Even with the changes, the departure times are still almost impossible to read in stations with small video screens (e.g. Atwater).

  5. Karine

    Thanks for explaining the mime, I have to say that it was quite a shock seing him for the first time now that I’m back to riding the metro full time.

    As for the change in the display, I have to agree, I didn’t like it either. I’m not one to have a knee jerk negative reaction to style changes but this one is a little too fussy for my taste.

  6. gds

    Instead of wasting money on the new design, they should devote the sums to making sure that every station has screens in it. It makes no sense that in 2011 there will still be metro stations where you have no idea when the next train is arriving. Just about every other city with a subway had that luxury by 2002.

  7. Pingback: Montreal subway DOOH network using mime to drive eyeballs | Signage Square

  8. Tim

    Well, it looks like the screens got ANOTHER makeover. Seems that the entire top info bar is now all black background. And the stopwatch is now gone from the right side. I know should have snapped a picture.


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