Employing a mixed methodological approach with research activities spanning across multiple years we understood the needs of current VTA transit riders and evaluated the usability of proposed design solutions.
Design: UX/UI, Visual Design
VTA, a special district that is responsible for Santa Clara’s public transit services, congestion management, highway improvement, and transportation planning in California, approached us for guidance on how to develop their mobile ecosystem.
Through the use of various research methodologies, we uncovered issues with the VTA mobile platform, namely that more regular usage would be facilitated via a single application that was more user-friendly and modern and that provided real-time information. Those findings and mobile usability recommendations drove the creation of conceptual design screens that focused on delivering an all-encompassing mobile experience.
In a world where ridesharing applications have made it easier than ever to get from point A to point B, transit riders expect no different from VTA services. They expect a user-friendly, singular mobile tool to help them get to their destination efficiently with up-to-date, real-time information. We were tasked with assessing and evaluating current VTA products, understanding user needs and preferences, and creating design concepts to inspire both short-term and long-term solutions.
HOW WE DID IT
Our team brought research to transit riders and targeted bus and light rail stations throughout the South Bay to interview riders in context. The goal was to understand their pain points with the current features offered and what was missing.
We assessed VTA products to better understand the current landscape and to uncover expected user pain points.
To foster richer discussion regarding feature set preferences and needs for a VTA mobile tool, current riders participated in focus groups in which they engaged in independent as well as group activities.
We conducted usability testing on VTA’s current mobile offerings and our team worked to created new concepts that were introduced to users based on the learnings accumulated from research
Insights gleaned from all research activities completed by our team in which strengths, weaknesses, and gaps of the current VTA mobile user experience were identified guided the design of concepts that proposed an ideal feature set and incorporated usability principles. These concepts were used in additional usability testing to isolate issues and uncover lingering pain paints before designing VTA’s final mobile ecosystem.
Findings from each stage of the research process led to the conclusion that regular, continued engagement with a transit app is accomplished by offering a single mobile experience that integrates real-time, accurate, and reliable features. These insights informed the adoption of a mobile solution that introduced freshness and modernity into a more easily navigable layout. Following our work with VTA, they have endorsed Transit to provide its riders with trip planning capabilities and real-time information, features which were a top priority for users.
“This project was unique in that we were able to employ a variety of methodologies to understand the experience of public transportation riders. Aside from traditional usability testing and focus groups, the use of interceptive interviews with bus riders was especially effective. You can learn a lot about a customer when you are participating in their actual experience alongside them.”