For my final project I presented a bus application whose aim was to help choosing the bus as a travel option a little easier for potential travelers.
The town of Ålesund, Norway has an aim of increasing bus travel in order to reduce congestion on the roads.
For this project, an opportunity was found to help make the local bus a more tempting option for those who do not use it regularly.
Can an app help reducing the hurdle for these potential bus travelers?
Research and analysis
For the target audience I decided to focus on the fence-sitters for the most impact - those who do not take the bus often but who are open to the idea.
I conducted in-person interviews with four people.
I wanted to explore the users' thoughts when they had considered taking the bus but in the end decided against it.
An affinity diagram was created using Miro with the notes from the interviews, in order to identify different opportunities and angles.
I boiled it down to one keyword: Uncertainty.
Whenever the users had any uncertainty regarding the distance to the bus stop and when and how often the buses were going, they were highly likely to choose other travel options than the bus.
Ideas were evaluated and plotted in a Complexity and Value graph to help decide which feature to include in the prototype designs. (How complex will the feature be to implement, and how much value do the feature give the user?)
I sketched solutions for a home screen where the users can quickly access information as to when and where their bus goes.
The home screen contains a map with a blip showing your current location and allows user to find bus stops nearby
The "Saved stops" sections show live update about the next bus passing by from your most used stops.
There is also a field to start planning a journey from scratch.
I took the sketches into a low-fidelity prototype.
When the user looks nearby them on the map they can find bus stops to click on.
This opens up an information card displaying all the bus routes and upcoming departures.
Low-fidelity user test
A user test on this low-fi prototype was done in order to spot issues early on. Areas where the user had questions or seemed confused were addressed in the following design iterations.
High-fidelity prototype, styleguide and UI kit
I designed a high-fidelity prototype in Figma. Alongside this a styleguide was developed, with colours, typography, iconography and a UI kit. I used Zeplin in order to hand the project over to development.
The designs were evaluated where concerns with reachability, legibility, cognition and screen-reader use were addressed in further design iterations.
Cognition and screen-readers:
- Words were added to bus info card to clarify information, such as "Lines" and "Towards".
Font sizes were increased as much as possible without causing issues for modules with more text
Reachability (for example when using one hand only):
- The search bar was given a more contrasting colour in order to separate the main elements on the screen with increased hierarchical difference
- The search bar was moved downwards to be more reachable by thumb
- A "home" feature was added to the search bar to enter home address with one tap
- A drag handle was added to minimize search bar and saved stops. In this way map is easier to navigate with thumb
Remote user testing
Remote user testing was done using the Lookback platform.
User tests revealed confusion around the save function. In my view it was distracting the user flow.
Saving the stop for later might not be at the top of the user's mind when out on the road looking for their nearest bus stop.
Therefore, the save button was moved to a less prominent place on the card. (Top right corner, next to the close button.)
Reflections on remote user testing:
Other issues that were spotted during remote testing was concerned with the testing platform and the instructions. (The test was simpler than the testers expected and this caused doubt and hesitation. There was also confusion when the prototype did not function as a finished app (typing, searching, etc).
The project ended here and no further user testing was done. It would be interesting to do testing in different context, ie. the user is outside walking, on the bus or at home.
It would also be interesting to do research on how this approach would work compared to the more commonly seen approaches where a lot more options and buttons are visible on the home screen.