RESEARCH PROJECT ON TRANSPORT MOBILE APP
This research project was part of my of UX Design course at IADT. We were to choose an activity that a part-time student carries out in daily life which may be poorly supported by I.T. solutions. I chose carpooling as the activity and apps like Uber and Lyft as the I.T. solutions. The project proposed that a new carpooling app was launching in Ireland and a research project was initiated to assess the user needs.
Creating Personas & Scenarios
Making Paper Prototypes
Conducting Usability Testing Sessions
The project was broken down into phases – research, design and testing. Research on the services available in market was conducted, as well as research into the users to better understand their behaviours and empathise with them. Paper prototypes were developed during the design phase based on the research learnings. Usability testing sessions were then carried out with the paper prototypes.
IDENTIFYING the Problem
Public transport in Dublin can be very difficult as a part-time student. A lot of the major college campuses are hard to access from certain areas, and crossing the city can often mean having to use two types (or more) of public transport, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Part-time students often travel late at night, which can mean that waiting for public transport might be unsafe in some areas – this can be particularly true for female passengers.
Online research of competitor apps was completed, as well as usability testing of them. From the research I decided to segmetn users into two categories – potential drivers and passengers.
Surveys were sent out via social media, using open and closed questions the response format was a mixture of checkboxes, ranges, and rating scales (Likert and semantic). Types of questions asked:
- What modes of public transport do you take?
- How safe do you feel using the public transport?
- How many modes of public transport do you have to take to get to your work/place of study?
- Would you be interested in earning money as a driver using a carpooling service?
Used at least two modes of public transport to get to work/place of study
very interested in using a carpooling app as a passenger
Very interested in driving to place of work/study with a paying passenger
Rated the price of public transport as very expensive
PERSONAS & Scenarios
After collating the user research data, personas and scenarios were created to help communicate users behaviours, their thought process and what they are trying to accomplish.
Sarah is starting a part-time course in the evenings and owns a car. She knows she will be in going to university on a Wednesday night from 7pm-9pm for 12 weeks. She looks at the public transport options open to her, but there is no direct way to get to the university. She would have to take two modes of public transport which is very expensive and time-consuming. She decides to drive to university and would like to share the journey for human company and to cover the cost of petrol.
Tom is a full-time student with his own car. He wants to earn some extra cash but he hasn’t been able to hold down a job in the past because of his university workload. He would like to dictate his own hours and thought about a job as a delivery driver. He never knows when he would have free time to be available to drive, so his job would need to be flexible and he would like to be his own boss, and set his own hours of work.
Emma is starting a part-time course in the evenings and does not drive. She knows she will be in going to university on a Tuesday and Thursday. She looks at the public transport options open to her, but there is no direct route to get to the university from her office or home. She is nervous about traveling late at night on her own and is worried about her safety while waiting for the bus, and when she disembarks she has a ten minute walk along a canal to her home.
Moving on to the ideation and design phase paper prototyping was chosen as a quick and easy way to test designs and make iterations during the process.
Drivers were used as an example segment to explore. It was thought that an improvement could be made to the drivers flow by testing a landscape version, language, an alternative “pre-arranged pick up” flow and informational pop-ups in the “pick up passenger” flow.
The result was 12 screens for Design 1 the portrait format flow, and 11 screens for Design 2 the landscape format flow.
The two alternative designs contained some other differences relating to button names, the way journey times were mapped and displayed on screen, feedback for the user and the placement of steps in the flow.
For example the buttons in Design 1 the microcopy used was “Now” and “Later”, while Design 2 used “Drive Now” and “Drive Later”. Another difference in Design 2 was that the journey times were mapped onto the route in an earlier step.
These low-fidelity paper prototypes were tested by three different users who were adults ranging in ages, nationalities and gender.
The usability testing sessions were conducted so each session followed the same process, to maintain consistency in the data that was gathered. The facilitator had an introductory script that they read from, and a list of tasks that the user would be asked to perform for each design.
- Some users second language was English and they were confused by the copy.
- Route mapping first was essential in the way users thought about finding a passenger.
- The “pre-arranged pick up” flow was the most liked feature and there were lots of discussions on how to improve upon it.
- New features discussed were to show the cost of each route to determine which passenger to collect based on petrol consumption/tolls etc.
- Portrait version was preferred by the majority of users for route mapping.
- Safety of drivers was a concern, especially women on their own at night, a strict policy on enlisting drivers/passengers was discussed.
- Copy needs to be very clear and concise to avoid confusion.
- Using page/section titles can aid the user and avoids confusion.
- Using a progression indicator for better user experience.
- A familiar interface helps with learnability, e.g. integrating with Google maps.
- Users can provide designers with valuable insights and ideas.
- Talking with users is invaluable as it can lead the conversation to areas you may not have thought about.
The sections above have been taken from the full research report, which was submitted as part of the Fundamentals of User Experience Design certificate course I completed at IADT.
A selection of related projects that I have worked on are shown below.