[Information Design Journal 17:2] 2009
► pp. 109–121
Design impact on New York City parking signs: Motorists pay $600 million in parking violations
In 2005 there were 9.5 million parking tickets issued in New York City (NYC), accounting for $578.6 million in revenues (NYC DOF, 2006). This article describes efforts by Addison’ Information Design to simplify the city’ parking signage. It is based on a presentation given at IIID Vision Plus 12 in Austria and the International Conference on Applications of Information Design at Mälardalen University in Sweden. Addison’ objective was to come up with exploratory alternatives to the extremely confusing parking signs posted throughout New York City. Addison’ Information Design team spent several days deciphering parking signs in areas that had the most number of confusing signs. The team explored out of the box concepts to come up with prototype signage systems that are more usable. To validate these concepts, the signs were user tested. The findings confirmed that participants found the existing signs confusing and extremely hard to understand, since the signs did not fit their mental models. The exploratory concepts, on the other hand, elicited positive feedback due to their unambiguous use of language, hierarchy of information, and clear delineation of regulations. The findings were presented to the Deputy Commissioner of New York City.