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Ironhack’s Prework: Elena Márquez_Challenge1
Hi uxers! 😉 (sorry for the joke)
Today I’m making my debut on Medium with a challenge from Ironhack to get us into the world of UX and try to solve problems from the user’s point of view.
Through the wonderful methodology known as “Design Thinking”, because designers not only know (or should not only know) how to use Adobe and because if we design for people, they should be the centre of all the decisions we make.
Citymapper is a mobility app that includes many cities around the world. It shows real-time information: timetables, fares, and different services available (metro, bus, taxi, scooter, Uber, carsharing, walking…). It has 50m+ users worldwide and a rating of 4.7/5.
But, indeed, it doesn’t have everything, shall we try to solve it?
The task 🚨
Citymapper is a great help for many, many users but to make it perfect (if that’s even possible), for this exercise we are asked to solve a common problem for all customers:
Create a functionality for this app that solves the pain of having to buy different public transport tickets through different channels, because:
the tickets come in paper or plastic cards,
it is necessary to buy different public transport tickets to go from point A to B,
the process of buying these tickets can be very annoying,
buying tickets when you are abroad can be a real hassle.
(For the time being, we will forget about technical aspects, login information, security issues and other limitations).
Let’s simplify this process! But first…
Let’s put users in the centre… 💬
It is true that Citymapper is an app for everyone, but for my research I will focus on a specific group of users who I believe meet the fundamental requirements of the problem: people between 18–35 years old.
Why? Normally this group is the one that, for economic reasons, will use free or cheaper options when travelling, both in their city and abroad. Citymapper can solve all their problems, but what about when it comes to buying tickets? What if you have to talk to someone? This age group includes the mute generation, who will usually avoid having to engage in conversation, and what about language barriers?
I interviewed 7 people between the ages of 19 and 34 who live in cities, use public transport and Citymapper or similar apps.
Let’s see what conclusions we draw after collecting and analysing all your answers and concerns:
Before the trip…
- Planning the route ahead of time and looking at the different travel options (combining different methods of transport).
- Not knowing the cheapest option (season tickets, offers, day passes, price by zones…)
- Not displaying timetables in real-time
- Not showing warnings, incidents or events that affect the journey.
- To know if there is overcrowding on the lines
- Buying tickets physically (where to buy them, especially if different methods of transport are used; no ticket counters/machines available at the station or stop, if there is a queue or no staff at the ticket counters or if the machines are out of order; language; payment methods available; having to talk to other people…)
- Buying tickets within the app (one of the users prefers not to have this option because they are concerned about their data; having no coverage; phone or payment method failing; what happens if you change your plans at the last minute and the tickets you bought are no longer valid…)
During the trip…
- It does not update in real-time
- The app tracks your journey correctly and notifies you of stops and route changes.
- Where/how to validate tickets
- The app loses coverage
- The app uses a lot of battery and data (especially if you’re travelling abroad).
- Having to ask people
- Losing tickets/payment proofs
- Names on the app VS my language VS signage
- Not displaying warnings, incidents or events that affect the journey, even being able to notify the user of them.
- Changing plans at the last minute and not having any options.
After the journey…
- Save my trip
- Trip history
- Keep favourite transport methods
- Being able to give feedback
In general, we found a sense of complete confidence that the app is going to get you where you want to go, which causes confusion and frustration when it fails, especially when you are on a tight schedule or in an unfamiliar place.
Another thing that worries users is that the information is up to date, so they found it interesting that they could give feedback about incidents on lines, if there are too many people in the carriages, if there are any delays… To build together accurate information in real-time.
After this step, we are going to redefine the problem…
The user feels that having to travel is a waste of time in itself, especially if they use public transport. So we are going to make your journey easier from start to finish, making it efficient and simple so that you spend as little time as possible configuring your route.
What’s more efficient than doing everything from the same app? From selecting the route that best suits you, to buying tickets; even if you need help, reporting incidents or organising a journey. The destination is important, but at least let the user focus on enjoying the journey.
Including the option to buy tickets within the app is a must for our purpose, but we will add 2 options:
- Buy all the tickets for a trip
- Buy them individually (in case you need several). This way you will be able to change plans in case any need arises without having to pay in full.
We will also include functionalities such as:
- Language selection
- Customisable route configuration
- Ability to access offline routes, if you do not want to spend data but still follow your route.
- Real-time alerts and the possibility of notifying incidents.
- At the end of the trip, give feedback
To solve the challenge, we will imagine a situation in which a user will use the app and find new features to interact with:
- Change the language
- Decides to make a trip from A to B
- Insert A and B
- Select the time they want to leave, but also set an alarm to leave on time
- Filter your favourite means of transport, if you want the longest route, the cheapest route…
- Select the route
- Pop up purchase
7.1 You may not buy tickets
7.2. You can buy the tickets
7.2.1. Select only some of the tickets or buy them all at once
7.2.2. Change the number of tickets you want and choose special fares/prices
– If it is the first time, select your payment method (including the most common today: card, PayPal, wallets…).
– Pay directly
7.2.4. Payment confirmation
7.2.5. View tickets or start your journey
- On your route, you can view tickets and download them, as well as the route itself.
- You can receive alerts that affect your trip or notify them in case you encounter them.
- At the end of your trip, you can give feedback (or not).
- Your last purchased tickets will be added to the home screen so you can redo them with a single tap.
Let’s see it in action!
To make this journey possible I made a series of sketches that included all the solutions for the user insights and then turned them into a paper prototype.
Citymapper has a lot of positive feedback, so I didn’t focus on changing its basic design, but on adding features that could help respondents to solve their problems.
As I’m a bit crafty, I decided to go from sketches to paper prototypes, because I thought it was a very interesting option for the exercise.
Thanks to that, I have assembled this flowchart that exemplifies the roadmap described in the previous point. I wanted to reflect on the process from start to finish for the user, join the adventure!
📌 If you want to see it in motion click here.
Learning points 🎁
Talking to users is when you really realise how many needs can arise. Maybe what is not important for you is the most important thing for someone else.
This process has really been the most interesting of all because of the number of questions that arise. I don’t even want to imagine when we get to do big research on users.
Although indeed, the problem was already defined, it has been a key exercise to redefine it based on the responses of the users.
I think this is something that happens in real life, or at least we should be open to it. You try to solve a problem, but after collecting feedback you realise there are other things that users might be interested in, so why not include it in the solution?
This part, although the most creative, is the one I found the most difficult. I feel I lacked people to go hand in hand with. If the key to brainstorming is quantity, you can’t do the same with one person as you can with a team.
I’m looking forward to doing great brainstorming with other people, I think it’s very enriching and you can learn a lot from it.
For prototyping, I’ve thrown myself into making paper prototypes and I’ve really enjoyed it. Maybe, as a graphic designer, it’s the part of my job that I should be doing the most, but I don’t always stop and go straight to design.
The amount of time I would save making changes to final designs if I spent more time on this phase! I really enjoyed and learned a lot from the process, including how the flow changed and became simpler as I tested different screens. Also, as they were models made very quickly, I didn’t feel any shame to discard them right away if I saw that they didn’t work.
Thanks for reading my dear uxers!
I hope to learn a lot from this Bootcamp and from all of you.
See you next time! 👋
Elena Márquez Gómez — @elenamarquezart
Read the full article here