Improvement Design of Bus Riding Experience

Omnibus is an essential part of public transport. Redesigning the process is a valuable opportunity to provide a better riding experience. I will show the complete process of my design in the following sections.

1. Collect information

Before designing, I read large amounts of related information and investigated whether some high technologies had been applied or would be applied in bus system. In addition, I browsed through dozens of mobile applications to seek the best ones, most of which, unfortunately, simply added some features for users such as arrival notifications, chatting with fellow passengers and etc. instead of improving the overall experience.

2. Define the target user and user target

Who will take the bus? And what other purposes do users have? It is not difficult to find that almost anyone aged from 10 to 60 take the bus. The primary targets for user taking the bus is to reach destinations they’ve already known. However, on top of that reason, passengers want to discover somewhere ‘unknown’. This can be traced back to their psychological demands for novelty or killing time. Thus, I concluded that there should be a section for fun to satisfy those users’ needs.

3. Repeated users scenarios

I decided to take the bus again and reenact the same bus-riding routine. I chose a route from Beijing’s Sanyuan Bridge to the International Trade Centre through Baidu Map. It recommended me to take the Bus No. Special 8 to get there.

Recommended route from Baidu Map

I recorded my complaints during the journey.

  • I stood and waited too long for the arrival.
  • The bus was overcrowded and I had to stand through the journey.
  • I could not hear the voice notification.
  • I had to be focus on my instant location.
  • I went pass my stop when I indulged myself in mobile games.
  • I got confused whether I should paid once when getting on or swipe again when getting off.

I summarised the process and problems. It is not hard to see notification and payment are the main problems.

4. Traditional bus-riding experience and problems

Brainstorming and interaction draft

According to previous analyses, the subsequent task was to solve two problems: payment and notification. I proceeded to the brainstorming session when I contemplate on questions such as the level of technology, device that automatically record the passengers’ actions by recognising the specific device when they are getting on the bus. If this ideal concept comes true, the experience of bus-riding would be enhanced exponentially. I believed in such future.

Despite of the contemporary obstacles, I found NFC technology (Near Field Communication) which was a standard-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology could enable single and intuitive two-way interactions among electronic devices. With NFC technology, users can perform contactless transactions. Here is the flow chart of using this technology.

What’s more, a user could get an instant location service while using the app. This added a sense of security and credibility with which users could do other stuff to spend their waiting time.

Interaction flow of bus-riding app

5. Final visual effect

I designed two main pages which could be divided into four sections. The most noticeable part (containing maps and the bus icon) is to present the target bus location and the remaining arrival time. Users could get the information easily; meanwhile, they could make a decision when to set off or roughly know about the crowding levels by the progress bar on the bus icon. The second part was the alert icon in the bottom right corner, which would record the user’s trace to provide temporary alert services. Also users could set a suitable reminding time by themselves. When pressing this button, it would show another page containing details of the next station, mileage and time remained. The third part of this interface was route choosing and searching. Users could immediately started their route plan by one click of the home or work button.

The last part was the hamburger menu in the top left corner in which users could manage their addresses, in particular, find some interesting routes in the “life & discover” section, whether it was for journey or other purposes. I think the most considerate section was the “bus help” where users could find help information and skills when encountering accidents.

Final visiual effect

Since time is limited, I can’t complete the whole programme. If time allows, I might replace this scheme with a new one.