“Tickets please !”— A new feature added to Citymapper
Wow, this is my first post on the platform and I am excited to share with you my ideas and solutions for my first challenge given by Ironhack which consists in prototyping a new feature for the mobility app Citymapper !
The Citymapper app
If you are living in a rather larger city, it is not rare to see tourists, students, expats or professionals using an app like Citymapper to find their way around.
Indeed, Citymapper is an app that has the same function as Google Maps as it helps you get from point A to point B by offering you the quickest and cheapest public and private transport route options (by tram, metro, Uber, bike etc.) to their users.
“Tickets please !” — now who hasn’t heard this while travelling by private or public transport?
Usually this sentence provokes a tiny heart attack for travelers and you see everyone around you just frantically starting to look for their tickets or plastic cards in their bags and pockets, hoping they haven’t left it at home or lost it on the way. Having your ticket on you is one thing, purchasing (the right) one is another.
When we are using private or public transport, aside from knowing how you want to get to your final destination, it is in most cases mandatory to purchase a ticket to even have access to the different transport services.
The first Ironhack challenge asks us to come up with a user friendly feature that allows them to purchase tickets when travelling. This process can be a pain for a lot of us (queues, language barrier, vending machine is out of service etc.).
In order to solve this pain point I will be using the design thinking process to suggest a possible solution to purchase tickets on the app.
First of all we need to learn from the users themselves to understand what type of frustrations we are actually trying to address. Before starting to conduct interviews it is important to underline the scope of our research.
Scope of our research
- What problem ? Creating a pain free feature within the Citymapper app which allows to solve purchase frustrations of users.
- Who ? Individuals who often travel with public transport and also have a phone with internet access. Preferably, they will have also had user experiences the use of mobility apps and have already traveled abroad.
- Competition ? All apps/services that have a similar function to Citymapper, which is facilitating urban mobility. Just to name a few : Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, Rome2Rio and local public (RATP, SBB,CTS etc) or private (Uber, Kapten, Lyft etc.) transport company apps and many more.
- Tone and feeling of the app ? Fluid, easy and intuitive to use is the goal.
I have conducted interviews with 5 different users by asking following questions :
- Do you use public transport to get around ? How often ?
- Have you ever used public transport when you were abroad ? If so, what was your experience ?
- What do you like/dislike when using public transport ?
- When you are in a new city you don’t really know well, how do you get from point A to point B ?
- Did you have to purchase a ticket to access to these services ?
- Would you mind sharing your purchasing experience ? What did you like/dislike ?
- What do you expect from your purchasing experience ?
The main pain points that have been mentionned multiple times during the interviews were the following :
- When being abroad : language barriers and limited knowledge to how the public transport system works in a specific city/country
- Within the transports themselves : fear of not having the right ticket or to lose it on the way
- Ticket purchasing experiences were globally relaled to a bad experience/emotions and mostly due to : long queues, getting the feeling time is getting wasted, not knowing which ticket to buy and if the price paid was the most advantageous one.
After having interviewed 5 individuals I can define the following problem statement, which would be the following : “ How might we create a ticket purchase feature to the Citymapper app that is intuitive and helps the traveler save time.”
What to take into account for the integration of a ticket purchase feature ?
- it must be easy, intuitive, and quick = save time
- must be adapted to users who want to pay by card but also in cash = stay inclusive for each type of user
- the user should be able to attain information concerning the public transport system of the city/country (for e.g. some tickets are only valid during a specific timeframe or in specific zones) = keep the user / traveller informed
- prices should be adapted to every user’s situation (having a specific travel card that would give you discounts) = make the feature usable and profitable for the individuals
I hesitated with different types of prototypes and interface designs in order to make the user experience the be the most efficient and pratical. In the end, my prototype did not include some of the ideas I mention in the two pictures.
Last step of the process is to prototype the solution, so here are my ideas.
- Navigation Page : Once the user has selected his start and final destination and has chosen his travel preferences (by train, bus, bike, all types of transports) he arrives on the navigation page. The app will show him his route with the different correspondences and types of transportation means he will be taking during his journey. For each type of transportation method a button will appear indicating “Tickets” that the user can click if he wishes to purchase one.
→ On the navigation page, the user has a quick access to his profile which he can create and complete with his different details if he wishes too. This will help the user to gain time during the process of ticket purchase as the app will automatically fill in the different fields if a profile is created. Under his profile he will also be able to have access to all his past purchases.
2. Ticket options : The user can choose from different tickets departing at different times. This was thought to reduce stress levels of users who may be in a rush showing them that in case of a traffic jam or any type of delay there are other ride options available.
→ I have integrated a little (i) information icon on the top right, on which the user can get information concerning the public transport system (zones, peak times, ticket validity etc.)
3. After having selected the departure time that seems appropriate the user either fills in manually its age and available travel card or if this information is available on their profile the app will do it automatically.
A ticket-fare is calculated and displayed (depending on what the user put in the fields) and the user can choose to either find a physical seller or choose to pay online.
4. Depending on the chosen option the user can either buy their ticket online or physically at a vending machine/sales office.
If paid online, the app will generate a ticket with a QR-code which will be automatically saved onto “My profile” > “ My past purchases” section which is available when being on the navigation page.
What I’ve learnt throught the process
Personally, I have already used Citymapper during a short week-end in Berlin and was relatively pleased with it. I even prefered it to Google Maps, but unfortunately it only works in specific and larger cities so I can’t use it all the time (or at least that was the case the last time I used it).
What I really appreciated is that it tracks down your exact location and ensures smooth transfers between your correspondances and different transport means by sending you live notifications telling you when exactly to hop on or off of the metro for example in order to catch your corresponding bus on time. Travelling with public transport just felt easier.
What I learnt during this challenge is how to really work with the Design Thinking Process and actually creating different types of solutions for a given problematic. I have noticed that I usually have way to many ideas and have trouble choosing only some elements, that’s why I think that the testing phase is missing in this challenge. Which may also explain why some things seem “unfinished” or just not as practical as it was intended to be.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it at least a bit. I would also appreciate any type of feedback :)
See you soon,