City Council, congratulations on decided to invest in a new app for your transit system. Together we can design and build an amazing new experience to improve the lives of your commuters. Thank you for considering us to be your partner in this venture. As stated in your project brief the primary problem needed solving is…
Riders want to know what the next arriving bus is and how much time they have to get to the bus stop.
We have continued to define this problem by launching user research with a Survey and performing a Competitive Analysis on 2 of your competitors. Based on the collected data we created our User Stories, which are a list of functions for the app sorted by priority. Next, we used the User Stories to create a paper prototype of the app’s functionality. This prototype doesn’t include any final design elements, it was created in order to quickly demonstrate our concept and test the user experience. With the Prototype, we conducted 3 User Tests. This webpage summarizes our work so far. Please reach out to us for any further information or clarity on what has been provided.
The following survey has been circulated among our network of survey takers. We have only received 20 responses so far and of those 20, only 4 gave us data on using public transit apps. We designed the survey to teach us valuable information even if they weren’t transiting app users, so all of the information is relevant. Feel free to take the survey if you’d like, it will add to our dataset. We will keep the survey live to learn more as we continue to develop.
Sweet. What do you like most about it?
- real-time bus locations
- You can now track buses according to their schedules
- I can see my route
- Gives me real-time data about bus arrivals
…and what do you think could be improved?
- information architecture, the app is a bit confusing, could call out the section I am in and which schedules I am looking at better, branding is also kind of weak
- It could be more timely due to traffic delays, accidents, etc.
- Real-time updates aren’t always accurate
- the design is too crowded
*We will use the adjectives above to make design decisions.
- 50% of people use the bus less than once a week
- The shows the importance of an app that easy enough to use that a user doesn’t need to relearn it every time they need to take the bus.
- 1/3 of bus riders don’t currently use an app
- Google Maps is used by 50% of bus app users
- This is actually lower than we anticipated. Google Maps is still our main competitor but this figure shows that people are willing to use a transit-specific application.
- 75% of users use iOS devices
- We will focus our development efforts on an iOS app before we begin work on an Android version.
- The pain points of other apps are overcrowded design and untimely updates
- People are likely to recommend transit apps to their friends
- The reasons people aren’t using bus apps are because they either don’t take the bus enough, or they know the routes already
- We should market this app as THE way to learn bus stop information to encourage new bus riders to download. For many reasons, we should focus on timely updates within the app so that even experienced bus riders will use it to track delays, etc.
- The adjectives most frequently selected to describe a good transit app are Reliable and Honest
- We will use these adjectives to frame our design decisions.
We chose to perform a Competitive Analysis on Google Maps and Moovit. Based on our survey and other data we believe that Google Maps will be your biggest competitor. We believe that Moovit is another competitor to watch closely. They are succeeding at differentiating themselves from Google Maps by delivering their customers an easy to use, well-designed product and using a crowdsourcing method to grow their database.
- Launched: 2008
- “With its iOS Maps app, Google sets the standard for what mobile navigation should be and more.” – Jason Parker of CNET
- Over 5 billion downloads from the Google Play Store
- 4.3/5 ★ with 10M reviews on the Google Play Store
Google Maps is an extremely successful web mapping app that has integrated transit data. Its positioning is that people will use the transit functionality because they are already using Google Maps to plan driving routes or to find local restaurants, etc. Google is an everything brand. This means that they make lots of different products with the expectation that people will use many of them because they are integrated. For example, Google Maps comes pre-installed on Android phones and was the default mapping app on iOS phones until 2012 when Apple replaced it with its own. A few months later Google re-released their app for download on the App Store and it was met with critical acclaim. Google was the first company to launch a successful web mapping service. They have had such success with it that it has been very difficult for any competitors to enter the space.
There are very few products where the Primary Audience is actually everybody, but Google Maps is pretty close to being one of those products. They have built such a reliable product that any consumer or business that needs a mapping solution will consider using Google Maps. They are the default app on Android phones. According to statcounter.com for Feb 2018-Feb 2019, Android has maintained approximately 75% market share throughout the world while iOS has maintained approximately 20%. Even though they aren’t the default app on iOS devices anymore they have received critical acclaim on the App Store. I haven’t been able to find exact data on App Store downloads but it is ranked #1 in the Navigation category and has an average rating of 4.7/5 ★ with 2 million reviews.
Google Maps is a web mapping company that has integrated transit data into its user experience. This differentiates it from other transit apps which are targeted transit solutions. To collect transit data they have developed a process called General Transit Feed Specialization (GTFS). It is a database format designed by Google so that companies can easily upload their transit data. This method seems extremely efficient for companies and has allowed Google Maps to scale its transit data globally.
- People already know how to use it because the app is popular for other reasons
- Almost everyone is familiar with the product
- It is notorious for not accurately mapping bus stop locations (they do seem to be actively working to fix this)
- More robust transit user experience, for example, alerting you when your stop is coming up
- Release a new app specifically for the transit experience which can feature a more transit specific experience
- The app does so much more than transit, therefore, its competitors are able to build simpler transit apps, which are potentially easier to use
- Launched: 2012
- Funding: $135.5 million
- Over 50 million downloads from the Google Play Store
- 4.3/5 ★ with 10M reviews on the Google Play Store
- 360+ million users (according to their website)
The opening slogan of their landing page reads: “Moovit is a leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provider and the world’s #1 transit app.” Further down the page, there is a paragraph containing the sentence: “This is public transportation, perfected by the public.” Moovit positions itself as the leader in public transit apps. Because they use crowdsourced data I was expecting their positioning to be primarily community oriented but it’s surprising not. They don’t actively hide this strategy in their marketing but isn’t the primary message they are delivering. The landing page is mostly about how successful they have been, 2700+ cities, 90 countries, 360M+ users in big bold writing. You need to actually click further into the website to learn about the community which surprised me.
Moovit’s primary audience is people who use city transit frequently. Based on their website branding this seems to be a small enough target market for them. They aren’t carving out a niche within public transit users.
Moovit’s differentiation is that it uses a network of volunteers called the Mooviter Community to supplement its transit data. These volunteers are able to upload the public transit data for their city and that data will go live within the app. They use the term Wikipedia of Transit to encourage people to join this community. This crowdsourcing of data collection sets it apart from its competitors and is an extremely effective way to grow its dataset.
- They claim to operate the world’s largest transit data set
- Combining transit date provided by the transit companies with real-time user data and user data submitted by its volunteers allows for the to efficient scale while maintaining a high-quality product
- Downloadable maps
- Notifications alerting you it’s your stop
- Their marketing is generic
- Can be buggy if you lose service, for instance in an underground subway
- Re-define their marketing to sell an experience, not a product
- Feature user data etiquette in their marketing
- Google is committed to improving its transit data within its already extremely popular mapping app
- Companies are getting slammed in the media right now for insecure or even unethical data storage, in a space, with so much competition Moovit could disappear with one significant scandal
BusyBus has much to learn from this competitive analysis. Our first priority should be to differentiate ourselves from Google Maps, we call this Phase One. The name BusyBus is the first step towards doing this because it defines our product as a bus app and not a mapping app. We will continue this process by featuring transit-related iconography and design elements within our app design. Once we have a successful Phase One, which means a published app that is meeting our customers’ needs and is trending appropriately we can begin Phase Two. Phase Two includes aggressive crowdsourcing functionality, because we are building an app for only your city we will be able to process user data on a much more manageable level than Moovit can. Users will be able to input information to improve data accuracy as well as rate things such as bus stops on cleanliness, seating space etc. and rate bus drivers on professionalism, friendliness etc. We will process the data as needed and you will have access to your citizens’ needs like never before.
These user stories were developed based on your project requirements and our survey data. Other design firms may try to convince you to launch a product with tons of fancy features. We apply a lean design methodology which is based on releasing a minimum viable product as quickly as possible without sacrificing on the quality of the necessary features. After launch, we will continually iterate our design adding new features as they are ready and testing them to make sure they are benefiting our user experience.
|New user||See where the bus stops are in my city||High|
|New user||Find out how long I have to get to a bus stop||High|
|New user||Find out how long it will take me to get to a bus stop||High|
|New user||Find out what bus is coming next to a specific bus stop||High|
|New user||Enter my location||High|
|New user||See all the bus routes in my city||Medium|
|New user||Plan a trip (from Location to Destination)||Medium|
|New user||Save your favourite bus stop||Medium|
|New user||See if a bus is delayed||Medium|
|New user||Download maps for offline use||Medium|
|New user||Share your trip with someone||Low|
|New user||“Plan to meet someone at a certain time and have trips
generated for each of you”
|New user||Save your home location||Low|
|New user||Save your work location||Low|
|New user||Live updates throughout your trip||Low|
Here is a quick sketch that was done to demonstrate the layout of information for the app. These three screens cover the functionality needed to solve your problem.
For our user research, we spent about 10 minutes each with 3 individuals. You can download our script HERE.
In those 20 minutes, we asked them questions related to the 5 high importance tasks from the user stories. As they did so we took notes about what was easy for them to perform and what took longer than expected. After they finished performing the tasks we spent the rest of the testing time casually discussing the app and what would be important to add.
The first individual tested was a full-time university student who spends their day either in the library or in class. They estimated spending about 8 hours a day on the internet so that is 56 hours per week. They estimated that 5% of their time was spent on email and 50% of their time was on browsing. They said that they are usually reading news websites, food blogs, websites for school, streaming video (Netflix), or on social media. Their favourites websites are loveandlemons.com and medium.com.
The second individual tested was a full-time high school teacher who spends their day at school. They estimated spending about 5 hours a day on the internet so that is 35 hours per week. They estimated that 15% of their time was spent on email and 40% of their time was on browsing. They said that they are usually reading political news websites, streaming video (Netflix), on social media, or performing tasks such as online shopping and banking. Their favourites websites are twitter.com and dailywire.com.
The third individual tested was a full-time barista at Starbucks who spends their day at work. They estimated spending about 8 hours a day on the internet so that is 56 hours per week. They estimated that 10% of their time was spent on email and 60% of their time was on browsing. They said that they are usually on social media such as Instagram, streaming video (Netflix), or doing online shopping. Their favourites websites are instagram.com and amazon.ca.
All three of the testers described the map as clear and easy to understand. There were comments appreciating that there wasn’t too much clutter on the screen. All three of them were easily able to answer my first three questions. It took them a bit more time to understand the navigation. They did ultimately get it without needed guidance, but it wasn’t extremely clear from the prototype. We anticipate this is due to the nature of the paper prototype and would be more clear on a digital prototype, and definitely clear once there are graphics and colour.
Thank you for taking the time to read our project proposal. We look forward to providing any clarifications or further information after you have had a chance to review our work so far.