As Lab for Ironhack in Berlin, I had to analyse Citymapper and to envelope a related ticket purchasing system.
By travelling from point A to point B in a map, Citymapper offers you a wide range of transport methods: from your feet or your bike, till public (bus, underground, train) and private (Uber) transportation.
I find Citymapper very intuitive and detailed, it gives you all the information that you need for your travel starting from the timing, the number of changes that are marked in different colors and even the total amount of calories that you spend for each trip. People who are diet addicted can be considered satisfied :-)
As I said before, the only feature that Citymapper lacks is the opportunity to bring customers to purchase tickets directly; without going through ticket offices, queues and waiting.
In my opinion, the purpose of being a UX \ UI is to make life easier, avoiding stress caused by devices and tools. Following the rule number one: when something works well you don’t notice that you are using it.
So let’s take a look…
I interviewed five people, investigating their habits, preferences and stress while traveling. I really liked writing the survey and trying to guess people’s choices, which somehow surprised me.
I asked them what the most stressful part of their travels is and I got five different answers, which however were all related to the principle of saving time and money.
Most people prefer to use an app to buy tickets, but there are still a good number of people who buy tickets without using the devices.
When I asked them if they usually plan to buy tickets before traveling to a new city, everyone told me they prefer not to prepare budgets or plans of this type. That’s make sense for me, because when people travel for pleasure they are not so super focused on the money they spend, especially in the small things like bus or train tickets.
Differently when I asked them how they organize for a hypothetical trip to another city to participate to a job interview, where being punctual is a must, they told me about aspects of the organization, such as booking the day before the tickets, checking transport websites and calculating times.
In the first scenario people did not feel so stressed about the itinerary, in the second instead they told me that they would certainly be more afraid of losing the connections, finding inefficient services and arriving late.
In relation to tickets, someone suggested me Omnio, an app that is giving mobility solutions and tickets purchase; I visited it, but I discovered that in many cases Omnio redirects to the transportation company website, and is impossible to buy the tickets directly in the app.
Therefore, I have tried to recognize two kinds of travelers.
Daniele 26 years old, he comes from Italy and he is just arrived in Berlin. He came here without a job, so he is looking forward to find a new one. He has many meetings with potential employers around the city, he has to open a new bank account, to make many documents to the municipality and he has to be always on time.
Stefan 24 years old, he arrived in Berlin to visit the city for a couple of weeks. He is a student with plenty of free time and he wants just to enjoy the city. He has a plan on visiting some of the most common places in Berlin without a strict plan.
From the analysis I did, I realized that people are often confused when they have to buy tickets, especially when they are travelling for the first time in a new city . They prefer to purchase tickets online in order to save time. Every person I interviewed had issues at least once on buying tickets in new places, often because they do not speak the local language, or they find the ticket machine confusing.
The idea is to create an online purchasing system, easy to use, flexible and quick. This system will permit to save time and reduce confusion and stress. Once the itinerary is chosen the app automatically gives the opportunity to buy the tickets.
Prototyping is the best way to put on a piece of paper my idea and see if it make sense.
First, you open Citymapper for the first time and you have to sign up, there should appear a proposal: do you want to connect your credit card in order to purchase tickets?
Of course, you will always have the free option to use Citymapper in the classical way. In the case you agree, you connect the app to your card details, you verify your data and from here, you can start purchasing tickets while you are travelling.
From this moment up every time you open the app to find an itinerary you will have the possibility to buy the tickets of the travel. After choosing an itinerary, the app asks you if you want to proceed with the payment or without it, so you are always free to use it also without purchasing the tickets.
I wanted to add another important thing that emerged from the survey. Whenever the itinerary includes two or more means of transport, the customer can choose between the all-inclusive ticket and the step-by-step ticket.
With the all-inclusive ticket, you pay the full amount before the trip, so this is a good solution for people who are sure of their itinerary.
With the step-by-step ticket, you receive a notification and you can buy the ticket every time you make a change, so if during the trip you decide to go in a different direction or change your mind and prefer to walk, you do not lose money. It is more flexible and easier.
After your purchase, a QR code ticket will appear in your screen showing all the details, the price you have paid and the expiry date of the ticket. Very simply you can go back to the map and enjoying the travel. In case you need to show your tickets to the controller, they are stored in a folder in the lower corner of the map.
Every month you are updated by the app, which tells you how much you spent on getting around and compares it with the previous months.
When I was into the ideate phase I was full of proposals and complicated ideas, it was like doodling in the air. Once that I put myself in front of the white piece of paper, and I had to drawing my ideas, honestly it was complicated.
All the clarity that I had before disappeared and my logical part replaced the creativity one. In that moment I was feeling quite fear, I was blocked!
But from the first drawing that I changed and I changed again, all the ideas started to appear naturally to lay down in the paper, and the flow begun to have order and logic.
So when my idea was designed, in less than 10 minutes time, I realized that what was blocking me, was me, my thoughts. Sometimes is better to take few steps back in order to take a big jump forward.