Wrong direction

In Milan, like in many other cities, public transport tickets have a magnetic strip on the side that is used to check their validity by means of electronic readers.

Even now, some years after the introduction of the new tickets, a lot of people still insert their tickets in the readers in the wrong direction, and can’t pass the turnstiles until they get it right.┬áThe technical reason for that is the magnetic strip placed on one side of each ticket so that it can be read by a machine, but it’s a poor design choice forcing people to pay attention to a puny detail such as this.

What is even more frustrating, is that there exists a trivial solution to this problem, and it is the one that has been adopted in Paris: tickets there are symmetrical, and the magnetic band is placed in the middle, so that it can be read in any direction.

A ticket for public transport in Paris
A ticket for public transport in Paris: as a side benefit, it is also quite small if compared to the ones we have in Milan

They did a good job, because they left behind an old convention (having a magnetic band on the side, which probably makes sense with cards you have to swipe) and chose a less common placement, putting less constraints on the experience.

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