In a recent piece for Next City writer and illustrator Aaron Reiss looks at the design of the MTA’s automated ticket kiosk. As a germaphobe, Reiss hates the amount of screen-touching the MTA kiosk requires, but as he investigates the history of the machine and meets with its creator he begins to understand the reasoning behind the design:
The first thing [the machine’s creator, industrial designer Masamichi] Udagawa did was to provide some context for the realities of New York City in the late 1990s, when the MTA ticket vending system was being developed. What I hadn’t realized before was exactly how novel these machines were at the time.
“This was the first time a touchscreen was really [going to be] introduced to the public [in New York City],” remembered Udagawa. “When [the MTA ticket] machine came out in 1999, 50 percent of subway riders didn’t have bank accounts, so…
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