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Improving transport timetables
usability for mobile devices:
a case study
Manuel Martin Salvador, Marcin Budka, Tom Quay, ...
Mobile vs Desktop traffic
Mobile
Tablet
Desktop
August 2016
TransXChange: UK nationwide
standard for exchanging bus
schedules and related data.
● bus schedules including stops,
route...
NCT bus information system
TransXChange
file (XML)
Importing script
Journeys
Database
Timetable
generator
Journey
planner
...
NCT bus information system
TransXChange
file (XML)
Importing script
Journeys
Database
Timetable
generator
Journey
planner
...
Challenges
Timetable generation
- Support TransXChange
- Grouping lines with similar routes
- Day shifting (buses running ...
Usability study
● Set some tasks for the user to solve
● Ask the user to think out loud
● Let the user freely interact wit...
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Formulate the initial hypothesis. For example:
“90% of ...
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Design one or more solutions that help to test the hypo...
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Implement the solutions in a testing environment.
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Perform the usability test by selecting a number of use...
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Analyse the results, present a report to the stakeholde...
Continuous usability testing
Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
Ideally, the final decision would be to release the bes...
Key performance indicators
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) indicators:
● Overall satisfaction. How did you fee...
Additional feedback
Quantitative. For example:
● Number of taps
● Time per screen
● Total time
Qualitative. For example:
●...
Timetable UX changes
Time navigation buttons
Tap on table to
expand/collapse stops
column
Header
3 rows direction/date
But...
Results
3 Tasks: easy, medium, difficult.
Total participants: 12
Splitted in 2 groups:
● Group A: original timetables
● Gr...
Lessons learnt
Initial assumptions are often wrong
→ Test more, test often
Finding people to do testing (for
free) is diff...
Future work
Take advantage of other
information sources:
● User journeys (e.g. automatic
highlighting based on user common...
Thanks
Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/draxus
Email: manuel.martin@wearebase.com
Twitter: @draxus
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Improving transport timetables usability for mobile devices

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The increasing number of passengers using mobile devices like smartphones or tablets in last few years have motivated transport companies to develop mobile websites and apps for their customers. However, the transition from desktop to mobile versions is challenging and many websites are still not optimised for user experience on such devices. In this paper we present a usability study carried out with the timetables of Nottingham City Transport website. A number of design changes have improved the overall user experience as confirmed by the results.

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Improving transport timetables usability for mobile devices

  1. 1. Improving transport timetables usability for mobile devices: a case study Manuel Martin Salvador, Marcin Budka, Tom Quay, Anthony Carver-Smith 11th International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling 24/08/2016 - Udine, Italy
  2. 2. Mobile vs Desktop traffic Mobile Tablet Desktop August 2016
  3. 3. TransXChange: UK nationwide standard for exchanging bus schedules and related data. ● bus schedules including stops, routes, departures times, departure frequencies, etc. ● the days on which the services run ● bus operators information ● information about accessibility of stops and services for wheelchair and other users ● 316 pages PDF! Transport data in the UK
  4. 4. NCT bus information system TransXChange file (XML) Importing script Journeys Database Timetable generator Journey planner Departure boards Real-time information Fares UI UI UI
  5. 5. NCT bus information system TransXChange file (XML) Importing script Journeys Database Timetable generator Journey planner Departure boards Real-time information Fares UI UI UI
  6. 6. Challenges Timetable generation - Support TransXChange - Grouping lines with similar routes - Day shifting (buses running after 00:00) - On the move → Dynamic timetables based on location and time Timetable UX - Small screen size (too large timetables) → Compress rows and columns - Variable resolution (vertical vs horizontal orientation) → Responsive - User interaction → UI controls
  7. 7. Usability study ● Set some tasks for the user to solve ● Ask the user to think out loud ● Let the user freely interact with the app ● Take notes! ● Optional: eye tracking
  8. 8. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide
  9. 9. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide Formulate the initial hypothesis. For example: “90% of users can find the time to catch the next 1A bus at County Hall stop in less than 20 seconds”
  10. 10. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide Design one or more solutions that help to test the hypothesis. For example: 1. Plain timetable 2. Plain timetable + search box 3. Compacted timetable
  11. 11. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide Implement the solutions in a testing environment.
  12. 12. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide Perform the usability test by selecting a number of users and splitting them in different groups (one group per solution). We should collect as much qualitative and quantitative feedback as possible that can help make a final decision.
  13. 13. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide Analyse the results, present a report to the stakeholders, and decide the next steps.
  14. 14. Continuous usability testing Hypothesis Design Develop Test Decide Ideally, the final decision would be to release the best solution to the production environment. However, the decision could be to reformulate the hypothesis, test different solutions, or increase the number of users, among others.
  15. 15. Key performance indicators American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) indicators: ● Overall satisfaction. How did you feel overall with finding the information in the timetable? From 1 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied). ● Level of difficulty. How difficult was it to find the information that you needed? From 1 (extremely difficult) to 10 (extremely easy). ● Expectancy. Do you think that this timetable is the most appropriate tool for finding the bus information? From 1 (falls short of your expectations) to 10 (exceeds your expectations).
  16. 16. Additional feedback Quantitative. For example: ● Number of taps ● Time per screen ● Total time Qualitative. For example: ● User direct feedback (spontaneous or using a questionnaire) ● User indirect feedback (when thinking out loud)
  17. 17. Timetable UX changes Time navigation buttons Tap on table to expand/collapse stops column Header 3 rows direction/date Button to show all stops Row and column highlighting Only main stops are initially displayed Compact times by frequency
  18. 18. Results 3 Tasks: easy, medium, difficult. Total participants: 12 Splitted in 2 groups: ● Group A: original timetables ● Group B: new timetables 3 Key performance indicators: ● Satisfaction ● Difficulty ● Expectancy
  19. 19. Lessons learnt Initial assumptions are often wrong → Test more, test often Finding people to do testing (for free) is difficult → Incentives could help There is no “average” user → Find people from different backgrounds
  20. 20. Future work Take advantage of other information sources: ● User journeys (e.g. automatic highlighting based on user common routes) ● Realtime information (e.g. show where are the current buses) ● Disruptions (e.g. adjust times based on planned disruption information) Accessibility testing with visually impaired users
  21. 21. Thanks Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/draxus Email: manuel.martin@wearebase.com Twitter: @draxus

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