News and Information

StarshipTroopers-information

When Ibanez and Rico are in Federal Transport Hub 39 set to leave for Basic Training, we see Ibanez use a public kiosk for news and information. To do so she approaches a kiosk that tells her to “LOG IN,” and she slips her paper ticket into a slot just above waist height, and types on an adjacent small keyboard, mounted at a slight angle for easy typing. The kiosk reads the ticket and displays her surname on the screen.

StarshipTroopers-information02

Next the camera faces her as she types, so we don’t see what she’s typing or the information display during use. In fact, the only thing that can be commented on is the workflow and ergonomics.

The workflow doesn’t make sense

The dialogue doesn’t hint at what information she’s getting, but I imagine it’s the most basic of the sort of information that one needs at a station, i.e. where do I go/what do I do next to get to where I need to go? For that, why would she need to type anything in at all?

  • If the information is available before her ticket is sent, it should be on the ticket.
  • If the information is only available on arrival, some token, like a flight number, should be on the ticket that she can check a public transport timetable. Having passengers log in for this information creates an unnecessary bottleneck where people might need to queue up, risking delays and causing flow problems in the space.
  • If she’s letting her flight know that she’s arrived, it should be passive like environmental retina scanning or the identification should be very very fast, like a barcode on the ticket that can be read nearly instantaneously.
  • If she’s not announcing her arrival, she should not have to login for information.
  • If it’s a crazy complicated path to the platform, the kiosk should print a map and route for her on the ticket itself.

That display sucks

The screen should fit the information. If the information is meant to be private, to announce arrival, the screen should be small and personal. If the information is meant to be public, it should be large and readable from 3-5 meters away. This combination of personal information on a giant screen makes for poor ergonomics at the very least.

But it fits narratively

We should remember though that this is a pointedly fascist society, and there is not a reasonable expectation of privacy. As we saw with the Grade Board, having one’s private information displayed for all the world to see is Just The Way It Is Here.

It’s possible that the bad workflow is also meant to describe a society caught up in pointless inefficient bureaucracy, but there isn’t a lot of other evidence that this is the case.

One thought on “News and Information

  1. Pingback: Report Card: Starship Troopers | Sci-fi interfaces

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