Observation – PATH Ticketing machine

Pick a piece of interactive technology in public, used by multiple people. Write down your assumptions as to how it’s used, and describe the context in which it’s being used. Watch people use it, preferably without them knowing they’re being observed. Take notes on how they use it, what they do differently, what appear to be the difficulties, what appear to be the easiest parts. Record what takes the longest, what takes the least amount of time, and how long the whole transaction takes. Consider how the readings from Norman and Crawford reflect on what you see.

I picked the PATH station’s ticketing machine as one of the interactive technology in public.


  1. Choose languages
  2. Choose what kinds of cards to buy or refill
  3. buy or refill card
  4. choose amount of money
  5. choose payments
  6. insert card or cash

Ticket vending takes 7 steps to finish the whole process, I hope that could be more efficient, ideally in 3 steps in both buying and refilling cards.

In a regular basis for choosing card and refill tickets, refill tickets processing time is much faster than buying tickets. Most of the time, customers spend most of the time choosing the amount of money, and making the choice of payments. Mostly, it should take 5 minutes if it went smooth. Sometimes when they are errors, it would take 10 min to start over again. The spaces between the interaction of getting ticket, touching the screen and inserting metro card are unnecessarily large gap. Users would be finding which button is button. Although the colors used for specifying area could help elderly or people needs assistance to understand easily.


I would recommend having adding value and buying tickets to be separate machines, and adding STEP 1-2-3 to the colored areas, so it would eliminate users’ time to consider where to go first.

Buying ticket:

  1. Choose plan (daily/weekly/monthly)
  2. Insert cash or card
  3. confirm amount


  1. Just tap the card
  2. insert cash or card
  3. confirm amount
  4. reconfirm the value by tapping card

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