Citymapper is a transport app and mapping service that displays transport options in real time, between any two locations in a supported area. It integrates data for all urban modes of transport, from walking and cycling to driving, with an emphasis on public transport.
“Find the best trip based on your mood!”
How many times we empty the pockets of our pants or jacket and find there some bus tickets already been used? Personally I hate that moment also because sometimes that tiny piece of paper remains in my pants and ends inside my washing machine!
Now, public transport tickets come in paper or plastic cards and the process of buying them can often be very frustrating.
I was asked to think about a feature for Citymapper to solve the problem of having to purchase different public transport tickets by several channels.
I decide to apply Design Thinking principle to this project. It is a linear but iterative process which focuses on people’s needs and aims to solve complex problems by defining desirable solutions for users.
It’s hard to predict user behavior before you observe it. But before interviewing users, I had to ask myself a few questions to define the target audience.
What problem am I solving?
Who is my audience?
Who is my client’s competition?
What’s the tone/feeling?
I’ve already said that one of the main problems for Citymapper’s users is the frustration of having to purchase different public transport tickets by different channels and wasting time and energy. The target for this app is pretty broad, regular public transport users, with digital knowledge so I would say between 18 and 55 years old, let’s say living in Rome. Citymapper most probable competitors would be for sure Google Maps, Urban Go and Moovit.
One of my first impression using it was that is a user friendly, reliable, and intuitive app with a funny and informal tone.
I asked the following questions to 5 users that already were familiar with other transport apps.
- How often do you use public transport?
- Do you use usually use a transport app? If yes, what apps did you use before discovering Citymapper?
- Can you tell me about the last time you used public transportation?
- How do you normally purchase a ticket?
- Is there a way that would make the purchasing simpler?
Understanding my findings
Through my interviews, I found out that instead of wasting time buying a ticket physically, users were more interested in buying it through the app.
Users prefer to go on digital for several reasons, most of them have a clear environmental sensitivity and conscious waste .
digital vs. paper/plastic
Secondly, all the users were worried about losing their tickets, as well as fidelity cards. They seemed to be more comfortable having an app which automatically collects all the tickets they want to purchase.
I though about the app Stocard which allows users to store all their loyalty cards in one single app on their smartphone and always have them at a fingertip!
less is more
Ideate and prototype
My users’ feedback and opinions helped me figuring out how to solve the original problem of having to purchase ticket from different channels and I came out with some sketches that show my ideal solution.
The idea is to dedicate a tab bar menu to the user’s Credit, Tickets and Routes.
I tried to make the process of buying tickets easier in two ways:
- first of all I made a credit section so that users can decide to purchase their ticket one by one or recharging their credit in order to buy tickets without wasting time. Within the credit section users can decide to associate a payment method and make the buying process shorter and simpler.
- I made the section “My Tickets” which would be divided into “Currently available” tickets (already purchased) and “Old tickets”. If the user usually does the same path and wants to rebuy the same ticket, he will be in the right place! He will just need to click on a button on the right to the old ticket purchased that he wants to re-buy and the game is done.
This was my first UX Design exercise and whilst I enjoyed working on it I also felt a little bit frustrated when it came to prototype and draw my ideas on paper since I don’t feel to be a good drawer at all.
I enjoyed submitting interviews and discovering through primary research which were my users’ needs and their experience all over the app. I could get a deep understanding of their feelings and discouragement and I felt really moved to try to help them out and make them enjoying their journey from the very first step (purchasing tickets) to the last (enjoying the ride)!