Practicing Design Thinking
Capturing some extra data points (timings) for better user experience.
There are times when the user comes back to us that they drop off from the listings page because they do not find their preferred time. We want to capture what time the user wants to travel before he searches and bounces off from the listing page.
The above-shared image of the design process is taken from The Interaction Design Foundation which is lead by well-known UX practitioners like Clayton Christensen and Don Norman. I am personally a strong believer in the design process for solving any kind of real-world problems.
It’s very common for us to just see the problem statement and jump to a solution. Which is quite similar to the following lines by Nas & Damian Marley.
You buy khaki pants and all of sudden you say I am Indiana Jones. — Nas & Damian Marley — Patience.
Design thinking is extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown. Let’s start to understand and resolve the above-shared problem statement using this approach.
Step 1 — Empathise
Empathy is crucial to a human-centered design process like design thinking because it allows you to come out of your own assumptions about the problem and gain real insights into users and their needs.
My primary objective was to know as much as I can about the experience of booking a bus ticket through an app. As I personally prefer to travel by motorcycle or car most of the time, that’s why I decided to prepare a short questionnaire and asked my colleagues to know the importance of timing while booking a bus ticket.
Fortunately, many of my friends & colleagues travel a lot through the bus. Some of them doing it on a daily basis by using platforms like Shuttl and a couple of them travel on a weekly basis to their home towns.
As a part of qualitative research below are the questions I asked :
- How often do you travel & does it include intercity travel?
- Which platform do you use to book tickets?
- What do you like about the platform?
- Can you show me how you book tickets on this platform?
- Would it make your experience better if your preferred timing is also asked before showing the listing of buses?
These questions helped me to understand the gravity of the problem and know more about the factors which help the user to take decisions while booking a bus ticket.
Step 2 — Define
As they say, a well-defined problem is half solved. In this phase of design thinking, idea is to analyze the collected data of your research and synthesize them to define the core problems we have identified so far. Below is the rephrased problem statement which helps us empathize and have a clear understanding of the end-user goal.
“User needs to have clear access to the timings of buses in order to make booking decisions easy”
Although, there are multiple factors that affect the decision making of the user. Rating of the bus, Hygenic rest-stops, and price of the ticket are some of them.
Step 3 — Ideate
During the very first phase which was to empathize with the user, I did some competitive research along with qualitative research to understand how other apps or platforms handle and serve user’s needs.
As I explored all of the above apps and tried to book a bus ticket to check the user flow and view the data inputs they take from users, I came to know most of them don’t ask users for the preferred timing. Instead of asking the preferred timing, they highlight the timings of the bus more prominently on the listing page itself.
While exploring ticket booking through amazon pay I came across this screen(first screen). They have highlighted the timing of the bus most prominently. Others have also done it by making font bolder than the other fonts but amazon did it nicely.
But at the same time, there are some apps(mostly are carpooling apps) that are collecting the timing information on the search page itself. Some are asking users for the precise timing and on the other hand, some divided the day into four quarters and ask the user to which quarter of the day they prefer to travel. Mostly all the apps add filter by time on the listing page.
Step 4 — Prototype
Now, as I have gone through a number of apps and have seen multiple solutions, It’s time to create some customized solutions for our app.
As I mentioned earlier, carpooling apps i.e. apps for daily travel, mostly ask users to provide exact timing because it makes the user’s experience more convenient as carpooling is more frequent than bus traveling. But still, if we have enough data to prove the requirement of timings while searching for the bus on the search page, below are two options by which we can achieve the same.
These two options are on the basis of current design patterns and information architecture. Since, if we want to add this additional data point to our current designs with the goal of having more ROI with minimum technical effort, we need to follow the current design language.
Apart from this, I personally didn’t like the current UI of the app. As it is cluttered and has many usability issues. Aesthetics pleases the mind and creates a feeling of harmony among users.
“Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity.”
Also, It’s always advisable to put linear input fields in forms as they are much easier to fill information. Zig zag movement of input fields annoys users.
Step 5 — Test
In the end, the above-shared solution needs to be tested with real users and feedback needs to be collected as often as possible. In order to stay competitive, iterations on the basis of feedback from users are the key to create a user-friendly product.
Note: I did this exercise to practice and incorporate design thinking for problem-solving. I Would love to have inputs of the readers from there experiences.
Thanks & Please feel free to share feedback!