A concept, simplifying the whole experience. I’m a frequent traveler, and I’d like to try this.

View the project here.

Note: This is just a concept for a mobile application. Although, I would love to see this app taken up by a developer.

Overview.

Booking is the one stop for booking train tickets. It allows users of all ages to have one, easy and straight-forward way of booking tickets.

I had this idea for a long time but after hearing about the hectic process of booking tickets from my peers, I ventured to make this a reality. This is just a concept but covers the whole user experience and journey. I am no developer but I would love to see this application pop up in the app stores as this would greatly benefit users and make the whole “hectic” ticket booking experience much easier.

I pitched this idea to my friends and some members of the design community and they all gave me the thumbs up!

The main principle behind this product was to simplify the whole experience and process of booking a train ticket.

Problem.

Before anything else, what is the problem that I am trying to solve with my design. More importantly, is there a need for this?

I spoke with my peers and some members of the Kerala Designers Collaborative design community and they told me about their troublesome and confusing ticket booking experience.

I concluded that the main issues were that:

  1. IRCTC, the official ticket booking website for the Indian Railways has a confusing and unwelcoming interface that turns away many potential ticket buyers and they look to other sources.
  2. People are worried about having their ticket mail, sms, website login/password forgotten and this may cause some issues. Users want a product that is basically a holy grail for ticket booking. Users can book, view, and check the status of the ticket.

One of the main decisions I took was to opt out the account creation process completely and associate it with a phone number. For people who just want to book tickets fast, this can save some time.

Research.

I interviewed people who regularly travel about their booking experience. Among some of the questions I asked were:

  1. What changes would you like to see to the whole booking system?
  2. If so, what all?
  3. Would you use this as your primary ticket booking application if it was available in the application store?

I found that many people were indeed turned off by the current process and would use my product if available to them.

I focused on the older demographics as my research indicated most of the people over the age 45 experienced difficulties in booking tickets and had others help to book the tickets.

I understand that there are lots of applications out there with compelling and beautiful interfaces but one thing I see in common, is the number of options for the user to choose. I have the Ixigo app installed on my phone and its just beautiful. It has everything.

But from a technically less skilled (older demographic), too many options can be over-whelming, confusing and can greatly affect the whole experience of using the app. People of the older demographic will find it hard to use the app.

Based off the research, I created features that would help make the ticket booking experience better for everyone.

Applicable User Scenario.

I interviewed my dad and brother who are the biggest train fanatics I know (so who better to ask?) about their ticket booking experience with the IRCTC and created persona and scenario cards based on their comments.

Solidifying Product Goals.

After validating that there was potential use and even demand for my product through research, I laid down exactly what I wanted my product to help everyone with the ticket booking experience.

Product Goals

Simplify and centralize the whole ticket booking experience for users.

Significantly reducing the time of booking tickets, making the whole process refined and quicker.

Can be used by anyone.

I want to point out something I mentioned above again. There are lots of great apps available on the market right now and the number of options and features it provides is incredible. My goal is to build an application exclusively for booking tickets and checking status with an intuitive, straightforward and easily navigable interface.

I agree with the fact that more options means more freedom but in this , we are targeting an older demographic, less is more. It’s also a scientific fact that when people are presented with less options, they are satisfied with it rather than presenting them with a wide range of options to choose from.

Finalizing Core Feature Set & Interactions.

“Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

After brainstorming potential features that people would find useful, I set out put together a concrete feature set for my product.

I decided on incorporating the following features that users would be able to interact with:

  1. Share ticket option
  2. Alternate Language — Hindi
  3. View Booked Tickets

If a user is booking a ticket for his/her friend, share option is the best way to get the ticket to him.

At 41.03%, Hindi has the highest number of speakers as a percentage of the total population. In railways stations, the station name is presented in 3 languages — English, Hindi and the local language.

Keeping in mind that foreigners would make use of this product too, English language was mandatory.

India is a very diverse nation without different languages, cultures and traditions. Making a product for such a community is challenging and fun. It gives me the opportunity to learn more about the culture and incorporate the knowledge to build a product that people can connect with.

At it’s core, Ticket Booking App is a utility application. Before everything else, the application needs to intuitive and simple to use its core function — booking train tickets.

The true value of a product comes from the usability and I proceeded to design with that in mind.

Sketching and Structure.

I made use of the information I gathered from the user research to lay down a visual image of how the application would like.

Low Fidelity Mockups & Wireframing.

To get a higher quality of visualization, I proceeded to make the mockups using the rough sketches as the foundation.

This also gave me a better idea of how I should utilise the available screen real estate.

High Fidelity Mockups.

After finalising my rough sketches of the application, I moved on to creating the high quality mockups. Excluded elements that I thought would negatively impact a potential users experience.

I used the IRCTC brand colours, strategy, and information design to create an intuitive, clean, simple, straight forward and aesthetically pleasing design.

Interface Decision Making.

I studied the IRCTC website and noted down the key elements of a components and understood the hierarchy of displaying the elements.

I went with blue as the main color as this was IRCTC’s brand color.

I used principles of visual hierarchy and font weights and color to bring important information to the attention of the user.

I kept the navigation bar intuitive and simple, consisting of only the important links for quick accessibility.

Interactive Prototype.

This is just an early stage prototype to demonstrate the basic functionality of the app.

Animated Prototype.

Using Adobe XD

Usability Testing.

I shared the Adobe XD file with friends, and members of Kerala Designers Collaborative and asked them for their opinions on the Ticket Booking App.

The most common questions I asked were:

  1. How do feel about the UX and design?
  2. What do you like about and what don’t you like about it?
  3. Would you download this app and recommend it to others if available?

Analysis Of Feedback.

I gathered all the feedback I received from the usability testing and wrote it down on my book for me to better interpret the information.

Plus Points

  1. Easy to use and navigate
  2. Simple and all in one app
  3. Clean layout
  4. Felt “credible” and trustworthy

Critical Reactions

  1. Text small, and hard to read — Other minor UI issues

2. Add a profile option

3. Make it more interesting with visual elements

I looked at the feedback objectively and proceeded to go back in my process to improve the application if need be.

I concluded that the current version would accomplish the goals I set for the applications.

Conclusion.

I learned a lot from designing this product and also writing this case . For me, everything is a learning process. By combining branding, clean UI, good UX, and empathy for the user, I was able to achieve the goals I set for this application and I am really glad about it.

I believe ideas and designs can always be revised and built upon and this product is no exception.

Some of the questions I ask myself before building a product is:

  1. Is there a need?
  2. What are the problem it’s marked to solve?
  3. Who is it for?

When do I believe that the product I built is complete and ready for the world?

  1. Would a first-time user be able to navigate without any issues or guidance?
  2. Did we solve the problem we set for the product to accomplish?
  3. Does it look great?

The first two questions have been answered through the usability testing. They loved it. Regarding the UI, I believe some minor changes to the application are in order.

  • Making the text more legible — Size of the text can be bigger and contrast of the secondary text can be more.
  • More visual elements — To make it more interesting.
  • Welcome screen — After the loading screen, it directing jumps to the boarding process (first-time user). A welcome screen can be made for a better experience.
  • Logo and loading screen — Better logo so that the product can be marketed better. Loading screen can have some visual elements which will make it more attractive and visually pleasing.

I’ll look into these soon.

Nothing is ever complete. I’ll look back to the product with a fresh set of eyes as nothing is ever perfect and permanent. There is always room for improvement!

View the project here.

-Rohan



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