There was only eight weeks to carry out research, test a prototype and iterate on a final design. My process was first to understand who Irish Rail customers were, the problems they were having and the main things they needed the online rail service to do. Next, I defined the problem.
After understanding the problem I came up some solutions around booking a train & checking train times and tested those designs as interactive prototypes. Finally, I learned what worked and what didn’t work so.
Understand the users of irishrail.ie and their needs
Define the problem statement.
Identify the major pain points with irishrail.ie
Prototype & test a new solution
Phase 1: Understanding the users
The main reason for gathering data at all is to glean information about something(Preece, J., Rogers, Y., & Sharp, H. 2015). In order to know what needed to research, I first needed to derive at research goals. I listed out what we needed answered before we could define what what I was designing and who for. These are the main research goals I set out for the project:
Identify any usability or user experience issues and any barriers / drivers to use.
Understand current behaviour and experience of Irish Rail user
Identify any usability issues when booking a train online
Evaluate the top user tasks of the Irish Rail website
Evaluate the efficiency of the Irish Rail website and measure it against user experience
To get a broader understanding of who the Irish rail customers are and how the user the service, I sent out an online survey. The survey results showed that the top issues with website were with the user interface of the website, the lack of flexibility with the booking process and the inability to quickly train information.
We also learned that some of the major issues with the website were also the top tasks that customers used the website for example; checking train times, buying rail tickets and seat availability were the major features that customers used online.
Interviews and observations were carried outs with 6 participants in total. From our initial survey research I learned that there was about a 50/50 split in leisure travellers and commuters so I decided I would talk to both as part of research.
One of the best ways to understand people’s experiences is to see them for ourselves(Kuniavsky, 2012). Direct observation was carried out in a controlled environment on interview participants so that I could fully understand the issues that the users were having and to see how they carried out a specific task.
I used card sorted to help understand the top tasks carried by our commuter participants. We knew that they was going to be only handful of features that a commuter needed from the website compared to Leisure travelled. So we asked them to sort the tasks as cards from top to bottom going from most important to least important to their needs.