Redesigning Presto

I took it upon myself to redesign Presto’s website out of frustration.

The concept of a single card that can be used any time at your convenience, not having to worry about making the most of a monthly or yearly pass, or reloading funds from your own home, are all huge advantages and a step in the right direction for making a commuter’s life a little easier.

Presto has the right idea, but they’re just not fulfilling their true potential in terms of user experience. I’ve been using Presto since 2011 and I’d like to help by solving a few problems that have made me mildly infuriated these past five years.

Presto’s main priority right now should be user experience and user interface (their website) - it’s a complete disaster. Commuters are on the go, they’re not at home, they’re not at the office, they’re not sitting in front of a desktop computer. This means they’re most likely on a mobile device. Presto’s website should be optimized for mobile users, actually, it should just be made more convenient to log in, view, navigate and make transactions no matter what device you’re viewing the website on. It’s 2016, what major website isn’t responsive these days?

People are frustrated, they understand the convenience of Presto and want to like it, but the (easily avoidable) inconveniences are discouraging.


Comparing Presto to Uber

“One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.”

This is Uber’s statement - it seems like Presto and Uber have something in common. The only difference is, Uber is actually doing things right, providing a convenient, prompt and cashless user experience. UX is what Uber has and what Presto is lacking. Acquiring positive user experience is what will help Presto achieve its full potential, resulting in a happy commuter.

Presto’s Log-in page

Presto’s page contains an abundance of useless information like, “ Enter your username and password to log into your online account.” This is just redundant information, do you really need to explain this to a user who has clicked the “Log In” button from the front page? The header already says “Account Log In.”

An orange information box, which isn’t consistent with any of the site’s colours contains information from 2013. Can’t this information be moved to a more appropriate area of the website? To me it shows that the Presto website isn’t regularly maintained or hasn’t been looked at for three years.

I just want to log in, not search a wall of text for a tiny input field. Fitt’s law is widely used in human computer interaction. The law predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target and the width of the target. It’s the reason scroll bars and useful content are located on the edges of screens or why buttons, and input fields are large so they’re easy to target with a thumb or mouse. It may seem obvious, but it’s the little details that can make the difference between an intuitive design, or frustrating navigation.

Why is the anonymous log in an option? A user who has registered isn’t even able to use this to access their account. “…login anonymously with limited functionality.” What does this even mean? At least provide useful information if you’re going to add any at all.

Lastly, does the “Forgot Password/username” need to be separate links?Why does Presto insist on using a username? Usernames are for forums where an online alias is necessary. An alternative would be having the user provide their email address for authentication. Simple, easy to remember and one less account username and password combo to keep track of. I understand passwords can be forgotten, so provide a single “Forgot Password” link.

Uber’s Log-in page

Aligned, top to bottom, showing only what’s necessary making it easy for the user to intuitively understand the steps to log in and most importantly responsive to any device.

Here’s what I think as my eyes scan down the page:

  • “That logo is so clean, oh - it also links back to the front page”
  • “Sign In, yes - that’s what I’m here for.”
  • Clearly labeled input fields that don’t require squinting, or precision accuracy.
  • A convenient “Remember Me” option for frequent visitors. If I’m on a personal device I like the option of not having to log in every single time I visit.
  • A single link for the forgetful
  • A large button to complete the log in. I can’t miss that target!
  • Not here to log in? Sign up

Keep It Simple Stupid.


Here’s how Presto’s front page could look.

Desktop Homepage
Mobile Home Page
Scroll Down to log in.

This is only scratching the surface, there’s far more work to do be done to achieve a beautiful user interface which offers a positive user experience.