[Photo Credit: Daniel Rozier]

Citymapper — Scheduled Trips Feature Design

“Scheduled trips” is a feature for Citymapper I worked on as a personal project for fun. I desgined the feature for my own needs as a user and I’m really hoping Citymapper builds something that addresses this need one day.

For design based on competitive and user research, see my other personal project “Citymapper — Making Istanbul Usable” here.

PROBLEM

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of trouble sticking to my journey plan when I was going to the airport to catch a flight somewhere more sunny than London :) As always, I checked the app the day before to see the time I should leave my flat in order to arrive on time.

But I had a lot to do before I leave so I’ve set up a alarm to remind me when to leave in case I get distracted by other things. But then I started receiving emails and notifications from multiple sources ( eg. the flight company ) about congestion and disruptions near the airport, so I had to re-check my journey status, adjust my plan and re-set my alarm.

I noticed the same pattern in my behaviour when I’m going to a meetup, a meeting, theatre etc. I asked a couple of friends around me if they do the same thing, one even said she sets up 2 (!) alarms before going somewhere she cannot afford being late.

That got me thinking about what I need as a user and how could this experience be improved.


Wouldn’t it be nice if I could:

  • Schedule a trip in advance, get reminder about when to leave
  • Get notified if a transport disruption is going to affect my planned trip

[Edit: 2 months after the post I upgraded my phone to IOS10 and noticed Apple’s attempt to address this need within the Calendar app. Glad to see alternative solutions!]

Steps I need to take in order to achieve this goal are pretty straightforward:

User Flow for scheduling a trip

PROPOSED SOLUTION

To design the mockups for the new feature as quickly as possible, I used some screenshots from Citymapper. Then I designed the additional pieces on Sketch while sticking to the design patterns already used throughout the app.


USER TESTING

I was pretty confident with my design at that stage but experience tells me that usability testing never fails to reveal issues designers often overlook. To be able to test the new feature with users I quickly put the mockups together in a Marvel prototype.

It was time to take my prototype for a walk, or more accurately, to a coffee shop.

I was pleased to see that people easily figured out how to schedule the trip and cancel it.

However there were a couple of goals people struggled to accomplish:

  • Finding where to set the arrival time for a journey -> Existing Citymapper feature
  • Finding scheduled trip on the app’s home screen -> New feature that uses Citymapper’s “Current trip / On Trip” design pattern.
User Testing — Problem Points

NEXT STEPS

Since the day above article is written, I have noticed the IOS10 is now trying to address the need automatically within the Calendar app. I believe Citymapper solution could give more power to the user than the Calendar, so the next step would be:

  • Test both solutions to identify pain points and design an improved overall experience
  • Suggest alternative routes when planned journeys are affected