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Public Transportation

Improving 🇲🇽Guadalajara's transportation system with a digital solution.

Story

Coming from an engineering background (telecommunications, networks and computing), I was working remotely in Guadalajara as a Business Intelligence consultant, and then as a full-stack developer. I heard that Wizeline just created a "UX Academy" and was about to run it. I applied a week before and got the chance to be selected. This project is the one that made be transition to UX Design.

Role(s): 👨🏽‍🎓UX Student

Methods: Interviews, Affinity Diagram, User Journey, User Flows, Ideation, Sketching, Wireframes, Rapid Prototyping, User Testing

Collaborators: Students and mentors from Wizeline UX Academy (1st generation)

Roadmap: Wizeline UX Academy is a 6-weeks course, 3 nights a week. This project took approximately 4 weeks (nights and week-ends).

Business Requirements: The problem space to tackle was the 🚌public transportation experience in a city like Guadalajara, Mexico.

Process

Discovery: Interviews

Within 2 days, people of 4 different countries 🇫🇷🇲🇽🇪🇸🇦🇷 and of 20-55 yo were interviewed (face-to-face or via video-conference) in 1:1 user research interviews about their use of public transportation.

The script was pre-written and based on best-practices around discovery interviews (opening questions, making sure not to have leading questions, etc.). You can see the actual “Interviews Script” 📝here.

The sessions were recorded with a microphone when it was face-to-face; with Skype when the interviews were distant (Europe, Argentina). I used “Lookback” back then as the app was new and I wanted to keep only one tool to record both the user interviews and the user testing sessions.

Findings and User Research Report

After the interviews were all done, I noticed another student interviewed a similar user group and got some similar findings. We decided to write our respective findings on post-its (different color for each group of interviewees). This allowed us to see if there were some similarities and shared results within our interviews.

Affinity Diagram

Some high-level findings include:

🔴 All adults don’t ride bicycle because it is unsafe in most cities.
🔴 All adults use car by simplicity, but complain about the crowded traffic issues.
🔵 All adults tend to optimize their ride.
🔵 Young adults plan to do more sport.
🔵 Young adults tend to carpool as much as possible.

Here are some quotes from the interviews that highlight those high-level findings:

“Distances in GDL are too long.”

“I’d use my bicycle more if there were special roads on my way to work.”

“The bus lines are really badly designed.”

“I use the Waze app to plan my route.”

“Bus is so stressful, specially on rush hours.”

“I would love to learn how to ride a bicycle.”

Proto-Personas

The user interviews helped getting empathy for the user group that was targeted. To make sure I had clear users in mind when working on the next steps of the UX process, I create 4 proto-personas. Those are actually what we could call MVPP, Minimum Viable Proto-Personas, as they were defined with only a name, likes, and a quote that would sum-up their pain points.

Proto-Personas

These were mainly assumptions-based, even if they came from what I could observe during the interviews.

Exploration

From the user research findings, the following problem statement was defined:

It has been observed that public transportation isn’t meeting safety needs, which is causing an overuse of cars.
Young active adults need an app to help them moving safely in their city by bicycle.

I am a huge fan of Crazy-8s. But back then, this exercise wasn’t as known as it is today. For this ideation session, I started by skimming and scanning the problem statement, the high-level findings, and the quotes. Then, I used three times fives minutes to create three ideas. To get some consistency and force me to get to the main flow, I constrained each idea to three screens only. The photography below is the second idea I came up with.

Ideation

The initial ideas were to suggest the best route to your destination (avoiding dangerous and crowded parts), to help people to create groups of riders for a given ride, to track rides and share it live with friends, and to suggest routes with bus/metro/train allowing bicycles inside (to combine public transportation and personal transportation).

From low fidelity to high fidelity

The ground work was there, the research helped define the exact problem statement and have a first idea of who the users would be. I also went through a first round of ideation to know in which direction I would go.

User Journey

Before jumping to the design of the screens, I create a sketches-based user journey to visualize where the user would be before and after, what would be the real world constraints (they are biking!), and the main steps that should take to user from having a pain point to achieving the his main goal.

User Flows

Then, I translated all this into detailed screens, at the wireframes level. The first wireframes were made with sketches, and prototyped, to spot the black holes, and/or any major usability issue. For instance, this is when I discovered that most users wouldn’t be able to interact with the screen of their phone while biking. I then implemented an additional way to interact with the notifications: via the volume buttons (of the headphones most probably).

User Flows

Then I moved to 💎Sketch to create a more presentable digital version.

Wireframes Wireframes Wireframes Wireframes Wireframes Wireframes Wireframes

User testing

With the time constraints of the course, I got the chance to test the wireframes-based prototype with only 3 participants.

These testing sessions served as both usability testing and user testing (as the testers fit with the proto-personas).

Presentation

This is it! As mentioned before, this was a six-weeks class, three times two hours a week. And the project itself did last four weeks. The following it the slides I used to present the process I followed during this project, along-side with the prototypes previously shared.

Lessons Learned

• UX isn't just about usability, best practices, and user testing. (I had a Twitter-based knowledge of what UX was!)

• Technical considerations are important, but not too early in the process, as they can be ideas inhibitors.

• Even if nested symbols didn't exist back then, using at least symbols would have saved me a lot of time. Tools aren't the big deal, but they can save a lot of time (or burn a lot of time, if badly used).

Added Value

This app, implemented in a big city with a bus system, would increase the use of public transportation and bikes. The research highlighted that many people end up using their car because none of the public transportation or the biking experience are good enough to be considered. By merging them, and adding some social considerations on top of it, it would be possible to increase both uses (instead of the car).