For quarter two, our Design Methods class has been focusing on rapid ideation and iteration for a redesign of the Capital Metro mobile app. For those of you who don’t know, Capital Metro is Austin’s public transportation system.
To kick this project off, we completely immersed ourselves in the current app in order to formulate a thorough understanding of the current experience of using the app and identify the key areas where it breaks down.
There are a number of things that cause frustration while using this app, but the attributes that cause the most frustration is the navigation, different menu items take you to the same place, and in some flows, it’s difficult to find your way back.
Here’s a concept model of the app as it currently is in order to illustrate its complexity and more clearly identify the breakdowns:
With this in mind, I chose to focus on the following:
1. Get a step by step itinerary based on my desired destination from my current location
2. Identifying a stop near me and easily understand if the bus I need will pass through
And so we begin…
Like I said earlier, this class is about rapid ideation and iteration. We started with an initial set of wireframes, user tested them and then made edits based on the results from testing. This process of make, test, iterate went on for six weeks.
User testing allows us to assess the usability of the product. In this class, we used Think Aloud Protocol, a method of testing where you ask the participant to think out loud as they are going through the flow of the product to complete a specific task. It allows you, the designer, to gain insight into the thought process a person uses to complete a task rather than just focusing on the completion of the task. This way you can pinpoint where adjustments to the design are needed.
Evolution of the Trip Planner
Evolution of the Trip Experience
Iteration 7: Trip Planner
What I learned
Think aloud protocol works.
People catch on and it’s a great opportunity to step out of your designer tunnel vision and see the design through their eyes. It immediately becomes clear where there are wholes in your design.
Make it difficult, make it real, make it almost impossible.
When user testing, you must be careful about how you craft the scenarios. It’s easy to make a scenario that may not be real enough but works well with what you’ve designed. This won’t tell you what you need to know to move your design forward.
Carefully consider the order of your flows.
It became very clear that it only takes one flow for a user to begin to learn your application and then begin to expect certain results. With this in mind, it’s important to order your flows strategically.