Being An Architect to Solving the Very First UX Challenge

(Ironhack’s Pre-work)

After several years as an architect being able to design according to the needs of people was always amazing thing. Seeing them being happy and comfortable with your design is such a pleasure.

I wanted to move my design ability and “human centered” life into another page of the book which was UI/UX designer. For this purpose I have started a bootcamp (Ironhack Amsterdam) and here is my first challenge; “CITYMAPPER”.

My participants were;

  • From different countries
  • Three women and two men
  • Between 30 and 40 age

Naturally, they are integrated with different cultures and have different habits in their daily life when it even comes to using public transportation. Some of them were frequent travelers while some of them usually travels less.

I have made a few sessions of brainstorming before making my interviews to be able to find the optimum questions to ideate my process. My goal was to find most common pain points by the end of this qualitative researches.

I have also focused on the feelings to understand the users. I aimed to be able to find sustainable solution to their problems by developing empathy.

  • Language
  • Time loss
  • Misleading instructions
  • Zone problem in the cities
  • Not knowing the exact station/stop (having only hotel address at hand)
  • Lack of finding assistance
  • Not being able to find ticket machines
  • Confusion
  • Not user friendly stations and machines
  • Fear of misspent money
  • Tickets from different companies

The other conclusions that I have come into;

  • People really care about former experiences (their or of others)
  • Most people don’t mind paying extra for the tickets via the app
  • Lack of trust in payment issues
  • Tend to change mind if something more appealing is suggested
  • Everyone sometimes ending up paying more money on a ticket than he/she would had to

After gathering all those information together I have started sketching out the ideas and the possible solutions with the POP.

POP: Is a term that I use as a believer in Power of Paper :). The task was limiting us to be stick with papers and markers but even this was not the case, I would be definitely taking steps with paper.

I have one more time realized that not even single step of design thinking can be aparted from the rest. The empathy from previous step and asking continuously “How might we help them?” question guided me during this problem solving journey.

Main points were in but there was some gaps in the puzzle. I have made some arrangements to place some side facts into my design after designing around the main problems. For example; providing also comfort, giving option to pay with well known payment methods, prevent the feeling of lost money.

One more time, almost I am at the last step for this challenge but “empathy” is still with me.

I provided default sorting based on the most used route/option. During my interviews it was a valuable information that everyone tend to have soft side on what have other people experienced before.

I also give flexibility to sort options according to their personal preferences. While %80 of the participants cared about the time more than anything, there was still a minority counting the budget as the top priority.

Cab option is always visible at the bottom of the every sorting to keep the “mind changer sides” of us awake.

Google Pay or Apple Pay payment options give my audience more safe feeling during their transaction process. But, of course credit cards are also can be linked.

Whether it is on ticket vending machine, browser or mobile app; feeling lost after the payment is one of the biggest secret fears. On my fifth screen of prototype I solved this by placing a transaction indicator. By this, people won’t be refreshing the page or panic until the QR code appears on the next step.

What now after having a QR? Will I lose it after I turn the screen off? No, absolutely no. In “my tickets” section, people can always reach out their current or previous tickets. So goodbye to fear of misspent money or “where is my ticket?” rush.

Also why not planning a new route?

I must admit that this small design thinking process was so informative and exciting for me.

I always try to break down prejudices but as a human being, of course we all have some assumptions and ideas. Vice versa is unacceptable. Before handling the interviews I wasn’t expecting to get so many different ideas and emotions. Probably participants are not aware of the feeling they have provided to me but it was very interesting and exciting from the beginning to the end.

While opening a new design page in my life and career, maybe I also need to find new ways of being objective. Let this be the personal task for myself from this challenge.

I would love to hear from your perspective too. Please let me know in the comments what do you think!


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