EasyBus App

Smartphone Application Prototype

Interaction Design | Individual | 14 weeks

Description

This was my Interaction Design project that I worked on my first semester of Graduate school.

Problem

Ann Arbor Bus system has been one of the main problems among the community here. The bus users have felt left out from the decision making of the schedules and bus routes. Also, buses run empty at times and users need more buses in between scheduled times. The agency on the other hand is not able to send real-time notifications of delays and reroutes to the users.

Solution

A mobile app that allows users to request buses that can be rerouted according to real-time demand. The app also displays routes and schedules. It allows people to send damage reports and also feedback about a variety of issues including schedules. This creates a two-way communication tool between transportation agency and the users.

Design Process

Identification of the problem statement:

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We were asked to identify a problem in the realm of “neighborhoods”. The problem that I identified was the bus system in Ann Arbor after talking to people around my neighborhood. The bus system was very infrequent and erratic. This was doubled with the problem of the bus agency not really having a very strong feedback system. The problem statement that I finally chose was “There is no bi-directional communication between the bus agency and bus users.

Competitive analysis:

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Various applications and solutions that address the same problem were identified and listed and pros and cons were compared.

User interviews:

people (2)

3 people in my neighborhood were interviewed to get a better sense of what exactly was the problem and to generate ideas for the solutions that they would like to have.

Personas:

persona

I created 3 personas to match the user needs and expectations and to have a framework to display and identify the potential users.

Brainstorming for solutions:

brainstorming

I brainstormed with 5 of my classmates on each other’s projects and helped generate multiple ideas in a short time and this helped me identify what the clear solution to the problem could be.

Sketching and Storyboarding:

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I sketched out the final 3 solutions in the form of storyboards and scenarios that helped me get a sense of how a solution would fall into place in a user’s daily activities. This helps in the “sensemaking” of the solution.

QOC analysis:

 

Questions, Criteria and Options were identified and mapped out to form a total understanding of the solution that I finalized. This is a very important part of the whole process as it helps understand why a particular interaction makes sense and is useful in the context of the application.

Paper Prototyping:

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The solution was made into a paper prototype. Paper Prototypes help gather feedback and make changes quickly and easily. We had a feedback session with our peers and this helped me change a lot of interactions to make sense to the end user.

Final prototyping:

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The prototyping was in two phases. The first phase I started out with Axure. The prototype that I worked on was not very polished as Axure has a small learning curve but has a large mastery curve. So, in order to complete my prototype quickly and make it look polished and professional, I chose Proto.io for my final phase.

Takeaways

  • Tools for prototyping- Axure & Proto.io
  • Processes such as Paper Prototyping and Rapid iteration
  • Sketching and Storyboarding are an important part of prototyping
  • Never approach a problem with a solution already in mind