One of the primary functions for a bus company website is giving users timetable information when they need it, and they generally need it when they are on their mobile phones. Traditional timetables are a usability nightmare on small screens – lots of panning, pinching and zooming make for a frustrating and unintuitive experience.
Further complexity is introduced by the fact that at certain times some routes are truncated or only service main stops. In a tabular view this can be hard to follow and timetables are often full of explainer notes and captions.
Our research indicated that users planned their journey times based on either a specific time of departure or arrival. We saw that an interactive experience whereby users could select either of these times would provide a degree of interactivity that is not possible in a static tabular view.
We started with paper prototypes and quickly moved into a basic hard-coded html prototype that we could test on a range of devices.
By only displaying the information that is pertinent to that user's journey we were able to hide a lot of unnecessary clutter from the user interface while giving the user full control. Users can quickly choose between outward or return journeys and display weekday or weekend results.
We also looked at improving how we displayed route maps. All too often these are displayed as static images which carry too much information to be usable on mobile devices.
Geographical mapping can be useful for users to find bus information relative to their exact location, but simplified route maps are generally preferred for establishing the correct route for your journey.
We created interactive SVG route maps which allow the user to find the route that is best for them and then quickly move to timetable information.
Further development phases of the project will introduce:
By combining the industry knowledge of the Sanders team with an agile, user-centred approach we have developed a novel approach to a traditional user-experience problem. Our solution is highly intuitive and is built on a platform that ensures lightning fast performance when users need it the most.
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