Nexus want an app to make the life of those who use public transport in Tyne and Wear, England more comfortable. Currently, Nexus has the Tyne and Wear Metro app but receives much negative feedback from users who ask for a complete redesign to solve. Moreover, some functionalities from the website have to be implemented, such as live data and planning. They want the new app not only for the metro but also for bus, ferry and rail. Because Nexus wants to be better for the world of tomorrow, the app needs to provide the ability to manage your Pop-card and buy tickets throughout the app to reduce paper waste.
For additional functionalities, I had a look at the user feedback from the current metro app. Furthermore, having a look at the website and implementing the features are valuable and appreciative.
App Store User Feedback (Tyne and Wear Metro App, 2016)
- Wish to plan a journey with time input.
- Bad usability / hard to understand.
- Would like live data.
- Would like to purchase tickets digitally.
- Would like Pop-card integration.
Based on the brief and the user feedback, I had a brainstorm session about the structure and the desired functionalities. I organised these thoughts, based on categories which would later become the app tabs. Some features are overlapping multiple categories, and I placed those in the middle so these features will be accessible on both tabs when possible.
After the brainstorm, I sketched wireframes for the most impactful screens and worked them out digitally. Of course, the app would have more screen than these, but I would create a design system, so elements of these screens can be suitable for other and future screens as well.
I was unable to find specific brand guidelines from Nexus. Because of this, I based the branding mainly on their website and their current Metro App. Moreover, I adjusted some elements like logo's and icons to fit better within the iOS style.
The planner is the first screen of the app and represents the main functionality of the app: planning your route. The position of the elements is directly from the wireframes, with the planning module on the top and updates underneath. The tabs represent recurring itineraries, service status updates and travel history.
Move the cursor
Finding Your Way
When a user planned its route, an overview of availabilities will appear. Within a snapshot, a user can identify if the trip has been modified or cancelled, on what time it will leave and arrive and on which platform, how long it will take, how many changes it requires on which transportation service and lastly, how expensive the trip will be. When a user taps on a possibility, the app provides more information, and the trip can be paid within seconds.
A much-requested functionality from the reviews is the ability to have your tickets and Pop-card in the Nexus app, so you don't have to purchase them on the station and reduce waste. When a user bought a ticket, it will appear on the ticket tab. Both your tickets as Pop-cards can be opened by tapping on them and access the gate with their QR-code.
Communication of disruptions is an essential asset of public transport. Via the first page under the 'updates' toggle is a clear overview of disorders on metro, bus, and ferry. Updates are divided into categories such as live updates, planned works and timetable changes. These are also present in the disruptions tab, together with a badge indicating the number of disruptions.
When a user set recurring itineraries, they will receive a notification when disruptions occur. With all these functionalities, travellers will always have precise and up-to-date knowledge about their journey.
Information about a station nearby or with the search bar can be found on the second tab. Firstly, it represents all the departures from that station with times and platform number. Secondly, facilities on the station such as car parks, staff and accessibility. Thirdly, the map to seek for facilities nearby.
Station information can also be found when a user plans a trip, so they have a better understanding of what to expect when they arrive.
I first prototyped this screen following my sketched wireframes with the map on the top and the tabs departures and facilities underneath. Unfortunately, when I prototyped it, I discovered that there was too much information on the screen and the two sections fulfil different needs: seeing the upcoming trains and facilities on a map will, most likely, not be in interest on the same time. Therefore, I changed it to three tabs.
The profile tab makes it possible to log in with your Nexus account and access additional links such as app settings, news and contact. When logged in, the user can manage their recurring itineraries and see their transaction history.
Recurring itineraries are essential as they provide customisability and increase user productivity. They appear on the first planner screen and the profile tab. They can also be added throughout the trip overview. When adding an itinerary, a user picks a departure and an arrival station, as well as the preferred travel method and accessibility preferences. The second step is to configure notification preferences. The user selects a departure (and optionally returning) time and travel days. Moreover, the user can choose notification preferences and safe their itinerary.
I enjoyed making this project from the beginning up until the working prototype. By applying design thinking, I tackled the current user problems based on their feedback. Because this project isn't meant to be developed, there was no larger-scale user testing in this project, but I would definitely perform those if possible. The project taught me to stay critical on the design process and to make changes on the wireframes if they don't seem to fit in the actual design. Some features that can be included in the future might be more information about the railway, booking a taxi and making suggestions for trips to make. A gamification element might be to make a scoreboard of reduced pollution by travelling by public transport instead of the car to meet the goal to make Newcastle upon Tyne carbon-neutral by 2030.