Quarter 2 has begun! This first blog post comes to you courtesy of our “Methods” course which is entitled “Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving.” For this class we will be presenting a new iteration on the same design each week. The design we will be iterating on each week is the existing CapMetro App which is the official app of Austin’s public transportation system, and allows bus/rail/shuttle riders to buy passes, plan trips, view maps & schedules and see when buses will be arriving. This week we are creating two concept maps: A concept map of the existing CapMetro application and a concept map of our revised iteration. A concept map is a visual representation that simplifies the parts of a system in order to allow for a better understanding of the organization and boundaries of the system as a whole. To start this process, the first thing I did was take screenshots of every screen and print them out. I labeled each screen with a unique name and then pinned them up on the wall in a logical order. See here. From this I created an “As-is” map of the current system (click image below for a closer look):
After completing this map, some things started to stick out to me that could be improved upon:
- The Route Maps and Schedules should be combined since both options take you to the same place and the toggling mechanism (allowing you to switch from Maps to Schedules or Schedules to Map) should be more obvious.
- Planned Trips should automatically be saved in a history instead of requiring the user to manually save a trip as a “favorite.”
- Tickets should automatically be saved to the “cloud” with the option to save to a device instead of making the user choose between two “Save to the cloud? or to your device?” which is probably confusing to many users.
- The online ticketing system is overly complex; Requiring the user to manually activate a ticket prior to use (in order to start the clock on the expiration date) is confusing and unnecessary; The ticket should activate when it is first used. Requiring the user to activate the ticket, tap the code, and then present the code to be scanned by the driver is way too many steps for people in a rush to get on a bus. If and when technology permits, this system should utilize nearable technology so a user can pay their fare just by tapping or waving their phone near a reader.
- There is confused terminology on the app. The words “Tickets” and “Passes” are used interchangeably, and “Terms and Agreement” takes you to a “Terms and Conditions” page.
- Having written turn-by-turn directions of every route is unnecessary, and better presented in map form.
- The Index menu presents options that already exist on the home screen. To simplify it makes better sense to remove the duplicate options, and just provide a clear path back to the home screen.
- All pathways need a clearer path back to the home screen.
- Pressing the back button should move the user back one level, not ask if they want to quit the application.
- The Settings and More Info menus feel like catch-alls instead of meaningful buckets. Many of the “Settings” could be nicely combined into one “Account” screen. The “More Info” should combine “Phone numbers” and “Contact Customer Service” into “Contact Us”.
These realizations lead me to create my first iteration in the form of the revised concept map seen below (click image below for a closer look).
Thoughts? I’m specifically looking for feedback on the clarity of these models and the revisions I chose to make/not make.