Designing new features for Public Transport Victoria

The second design sprint in General Assembly’s UX Design Immersive, with a brief to implement new features to the iOS app for Public Transport Victoria.

My Role

Working in a team of four designers, I was involved in all aspects of the end to end design process. Specifically, I was responsible for quantitative and qualitative research (administering surveys, conducting user interviews and competitive analysis), ideation and rapid prototyping, and the final UI design of the journey planning screens.

The Problem

“How might we make it easier for people to travel?”

The Solution

“By providing an app which informs people of healthier alternative routes, offers information about safe riding routes, weather issues and disruptions we will make it easier for users to plan a journey and encourage more active travel choices”

Select this link to view our clickable prototype or read on to learn more about the design process.


Flinders Street Station

The Brief

Design new features for the Public Transport Victoria app, taking into account these particular business objectives:

  • Better support for multi-modal travel with particular emphasis on travel planning and avoiding delays
  • Promoting a shift to walking and cycling whilst integrating data and features from Melbourne Bike Share
  • Better promotion of ticketing information and purchase

Methodologies

For this two week design sprint, our team subscribed to Agile methodologies, incorporating daily stand ups and boards to track progress, with a team retro at the conclusion of the sprint.

Our overarching design process followed the Double Diamond model of Discovery, Definition, Development and Delivery, as well as utilising design studio processes for ideation.

Timeline

The project was initially briefed to fit a two week design sprint format. Despite some unforeseen and unavoidable impacts on our original time line, we managed to complete the prototype within seven working days.

Tools

  • Sharpies
  • Post-it notes
  • Figma
  • Google Suite
  • Trello
  • Slack

My Learnings

My key learnings from this project were centred around the value of managing workloads in a team environment. We implemented Agile rituals of standups and boards to ensure the project moved along day by day, and we were able to complete a large amount of work in the first week of the sprint.

However, the team collectively felt the effects of moving at such a pace in the following week, and on reflection in our retro at the conclusion of the project we all identified that allowing more time can be beneficial in avoiding burnout.


Discovery

Quantitative Research

Survey

To start our research, I formulated a survey to get some top level data on travel habits, including current way-finding app usage, commute times, commute methods and attitudes toward cycling. We received 130 responses to the survey, providing some interesting insights. Key findings are highlighted below:

Results are truncated, only major results shown due to a long tail of single responses

Qualitative Research

Usability / Heuristic Research

Given PTV have an app currently in the market, we undertook some usability research on the current state. We asked our interviewees to complete some common tasks on the app, for example finding train departure times, or directions to specific places. This uncovered some issues that our users reported as being frustrating, such as not being able to search for landmarks, and search results only displaying train, tram or bus stop locations.

Users also reported confusion around existing functionality, specifically the “Next 5” feature, which displays the next five bus/tram/train service leaving a specific stop or station. This is the first page the user sees on opening the app, which especially adds to the confusion for new users.

Competitor Analysis

I completed a brief competitor analysis to orientate ourselves with product offerings in currently in the market.

Indirect competitors were considered to be public transport apps from other regions

Major takeaways from indirect competitors were that they:

  • Don’t offer routes for walking & cycling
  • Allow the user to plan journeys
  • Offer map features of varying functionality
  • Have a direct tone of voice (eg. ‘Select destination’)
Direct competitors were considered to be general way-finding or map apps available in Melbourne

Major takeaways from direct competitors were that they:

  • Do offer routes for walking & cycling
  • Allow the user to plan journeys
  • Offer real time map features
  • Have a personable tone of voice (eg. ‘Where do you want to go?’)

User Interviews

We conducted interviews with eight people, ranging in familiarity with the public transport system in Melbourne. The interviews explored areas from the earlier survey in greater detail. Key insights correlated with the survey data, as well offering some new areas of focus:

A selection of quotes pulled directly from user interviews

Definition

After gathering data, we synthesised the results in the form of an affinity map to identify trends, and help define problem.

Key trends identified were:

  • Frustration at the inability to search for landmarks
  • Safer routes would motivate users to cycle more
  • Users would opt for a healthier route (walking or cycling) if they knew the weather forecast
  • The disruptions page didn’t give alternative routes when your journey was affected
  • No integration of Myki beyond displaying physical outlets to use services

Through much debate and iteration, we were able to define our problem as:

“How might we make it easier for people to travel?”

Development

Ideation

With our problem statement in mind, we undertook time boxed Design Studio processes to rapidly generate ideas.

  • Problem Definition — we created a user story to guide our ideation and screen design
  • Diverge — Individually ideated eight ideas in eight minutes, allowing 3 minutes to present our ideas to the rest of our team & give critique
  • Iterate — Following the group critique, we split once more to iterate on our designs and come back to present our new lo-fi wireframes / UI designs
  • Converge — after discussing all of our ideas, we collectively voted on those ideas and UI designs for implementation
Ideation results, grouped by commonality. Coloured dots are votes for implementation
First iteration of wireframe designs. Coloured dots are votes for features

Usability Research

In the early stage prototyping, we undertook three rounds of usability research and iteration to develop the design.

Various screens with feedback from usability research for iteration

Delivery

Technical Recommendations

One of the key pain points identified through our research was the inability to search for landmarks when journey planning. To combat this, we would strongly recommend PTV create a greater integration with Google Maps data to work alongside our redesigned product offering.

Solution Statement

“By providing an app which informs people of healthier alternative routes, offers information about safe riding routes, weather issues and disruptions we will make it easier for users to plan a journey and encourage more active travel choices”

Hi Fidelity Prototype

After conducting multiple rounds of usability testing and iterating results, ew moved from paper to more hi-fidelity prototyping, utilising the collaborative design tool, Figma.

Select this link to view our clickable prototype.


Where next?

A timeline for future developments:

3 Months

  • More information on accessibility options, including wheelchair accessible platforms, hearing loop availability and more

12 Months

  • Geolocated push notifications for disruptions
  • Greater integration with health tracking and wearable technologies to further promote a shift to cycling / walking


About me:

Hi! I’m Pat, I am a Melbourne based experience designer. I’ve recently pivoted to this space after ten years working in the music industry as a DJ, event promoter, touring agent and more.

I am driven by experiences, collaborative practice, and I am a strong believer in the power of communities. I love meeting new people, and honestly believe you can never have too many connections in life, so feel free to hit me up on Linkedin :)

Like what you read? Give Pat Woodley-Davis a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.