The first step to get ready for the bootcamp was to understand the meaning and purpose of Design thinking for user centred design, user research and prototyping. While learning about it in theory was interesting, practising it brings a whole of insight in the process. The challenge was to implement a new feature in Citymapper.
What is Citymapper?
Citymapper, started in London in 2011, is a public transit app and mapping service which displays transport options, usually with live timing and status, between any two locations in a supported city. It offers tailored route options to the needs of a user including walking, cycling and driving, in addition to public transport. It is free of charge to users, and is supported by a mobile app on devices such as mobile phones, and by an Internet website.
Today, it covers 58 cities and it offers an efficient, simple, accessible and eco-friendly way of commuting. Their major competitors offering a similar service are Apple Maps, Google Maps and some local public transport services apps like BVG in Berlin.
Challenge: A feature to purchase different public transport tickets
The challenge was to implement a new feature for the Citymapper app that allows the user to purchase public transport tickets easily within the app, while avoiding the pain of looking for the ticket machines, queuing or using complicated ticket machines that often only accepts cash or coins.
To understand the user, you need to know who the users are and what are their needs and struggles. I interviewed 5 users who uses public transport frequently and asked them some questions, to understand their problems, frustrations and gain their insights. I came up with these open-ended questions:
Do you use any app for commuting in your city or while travelling abroad ?
Is there anything you like and dislike about that app?
Do you buy a ticket for commuting?
Is there anything you like and dislike about the ticketing system?
How is your experience with carrying a pass?(if they use a pass)
Do you face any problems while you commute in an area that you don’t know or somewhere abroad?
Would it help you to have an app with a navigation system along with a ticket buying option within it?
Through the interviews, I learned that most of the users use 2 apps together, one for navigation and other for buying a ticket. Most of them used Google maps or apple maps for navigating and some local public transport app to buy the ticket. When travelling abroad, most of them looked for a ticket vending machine or a ticket buying counter which lead to frustration and confusion. The users complained about having to carry the card everywhere and paying a fine if they misplaced it or forgot to bring it with them. The users carried cash with them when travelling as some machines only accepts cash. When travelling abroad, firstly, they exchanged the currency to use to reach their destination. The user expressed frustration about it and to be able to not understand the ticketing machines sometimes.
I gathered all the user information and analysed their needs and frustration. They had one need in common, the availability of carrying their pass or tickets digitally. They also expressed a need to have a platform to buy the correct ticket without any barrier.
So, How do I introduce a feature where the user can buy the ticket they need and can also see other ticket options available for their route and the way to store the ticket they bought digitally?
The solution, that I came up with, was to add the feature which shows the user to buy the cheapest single ticket or look for more ticket options for their specified route, whether that be a single trip or return or a day pass. And another window within the app, where they can view the ticket they bought.
I did not change how Citymapper journey starts:
I changed from the third step. Here is the prototype:
With the new feature: Once the user selects the route they need, the user have the options to buy the best ticket as per their need. Ticket options shows different tickets that are the best as per the route selected by the user. A easy payment method which ends with the ticket added in the route, the user has selected.
This challenge was helpful to get a hands-on experience with the user experience design. It helped me understand how the user insights can impact the design. I leaned the value of empathising, asking open-ended questions for unbiased user insights. The three steps: User research, defining the problems and coming up with a solution plays a big role in creating a prototype. This was both an excited and challenging experience and I am thrilled to see what will come next!