We are a group of Wellesley College students with busy schedules and diverse interests. Whether it's taking a SoulCycle class in Back Bay, or visiting the MFA for paper inspiration, we're always on the go. We know you are too. After all, one of Wellesley's major selling points as a 4-year institution of higher learning is our proximity to Boston. So why is transportation such a hassle?
myPeter will revolutionize the Senate, MIT Exchange, and Mall/Movie Shuttle experience. myPeter is your new one-stop shop for Wellesley-MIT-Boston transportation, featuring:
1. Electronic token purchase and validation features
2. Schedules and maps
3. Real-time updates on the Peter's location
myPeter's Abilities -
You can accomplish all of your transportation needs, from trip planning to bus boarding, in myPeter. No more dealing with token machines, begging bus drivers to take cash, or missing the bus!
Users are able to:
1. Purchase tokens and/or punchpasses
2. Validate tokens and/or punches
3. Automatically earn 1 free ride for every 10 validated tokens and/or punches
4. Track their progress to next free ride
5. Access bus schedules optimized for iOS viewing
6. Set reminders for future bus arrivals
7. Know exactly when the bus is coming with our real-time tracker
1. Mary is going to Boston on a Saturday night to meet her friend in Back Bay. She forgot to purchase a token beforehand and the token machine in Lulu is broken. She does not have time to run to Stone Davis before the bus arrives. She decides to use the myPeter app to buy 2 tokens.
2. It is 9pm. Mary is in Boston and needs to go back to Wellesley. She purchased a token using the myPeter app earlier in the night. She wants to know where the bus is. Then, at 10pm, she wants to get on the bus and pay with her token.
3. Mary is trying to plan her Saturday. In order to do this, she needs to look up the bus schedule and add a notification for the 7am Senate bus.
Our pilot users provided us with a lot of helpful information, as we employed the "think aloud" method, where our users narrated their thought process for us while navigating through the app. This was incredibly helpful for pointing out areas for improvement for the design interface, to provide more clarity.
Areas for Improvement
User 2 completing a task for a round trip purchased two tokens and activated both at the same time, not realizing the second would expire before she could use it. This simple user error would have cost her $3. It was a failure of the design that the user didn’t realize it would be a mistake to activate two tokens at the same time for a 1-person round trip.
Observing pilot users 1&2, we determined the navigation using simply the “back” buttons could quickly become redundant and less specific, and the user may need to tap “back” more than once to get where they need to go rather than simply being able to tap once to return to the home page and likely more quickly access whatever they needed.
Users 2,3, & 5 weren’t sure whether the scheduled times were hyperlinks which is incredibly important because tapping on the times allows a notification to be triggered, something that can, in part, be attributed to this being a black and white prototype, but nevertheless, even if all types are hyperlinks, the uniformity will not serve to help the user understand these are clickable links. Especially as this was an issue and problem spot for multiple users, we saw this aspect as a space to clarify the purpose of the schedule times to set notifications for those times.
User 6 struggled to locate the map, a feature that other users had identified as being difficult to navigate our prototype, as it is a feature in black & white. As of P3, there is nothing we can do about this to create a higher fidelity prototype, but certainly, we took into consideration users struggles with the map’s low fidelity in evaluating the usability of this feature.
All users were generally pleased with the simple flow of the app. User 1 explained her ease of use at intuitively guessing where she needed to navigate to in order to purchase a token, and remarked at the ease of access and clear, concise text throughout the design.
User 6 also explained the importance of having a simple, clear design for an app whose aim is to be an all-purpose guide and aid to using the PeterPan busses. It was especially important for this user that notifications for the bus arrivals be a feature of the app-this, according to the user, eliminates the clutter of the user’s own calendar.
The task most frequently successfully completed by the users was purchasing and activating tokens. All users said the apps streamlined, simple, clear and concise design was the most important visual aspect of the design. That we didn't rely on frills or over the top graphics was important to a most users.
An aspect of the design that proved to be cause for confusion was the different abilities of “purchase” and “activate” tokens. In our first prototype, after purchasing a ticket, there appears a screen with an option to return to the homepage in the top left corner, and a large button below the confirmation text that asks whether the user wants to activate the token. While this is incredibly helpful for scenarios involving quick, chronological “purchase”, “activate” steps to use a token in a rush, students may not know or forget that active tokens are only valid for 30 minutes, after this time they disappear from the active tokens menu. We decided we needed to clarify to the user 1) what it meant for a token to be “active” and 2)for how long it would be so. In the activate menu, as well as in the activate button that appears after a token is purchased, we inserted text explaining the above, in the hopes that this would give the user the right amount of information to make an informed decision Another change made to the design was the addition of “home” buttons. These buttons appear on every screen in the top right corner and will take the user to the menu page (the page with the four option buttons and the live map. The home icon appears in the main menu as well, below the myPeter logo, as to reinforce the association with this page as the “home” page. We added a keyboard in the “edit personal information” submenu in order to ensure users testing the prototype would know what actions triggered the keyboard to appear, and that typing would be necessary to proceed. An extra option for notifications for bus arrival was added to the second iteration. Users were able to select a bus on a date/time that they’d like to receive an advance notification for. This means, a user will receive a 20 minute notification prior to the arrival of the bus at the selected stop and time.
These prototypes illuminated for us a lot of factors related to this app’s usability. For the most part, the simplistic four-button +map homepage is easily understandable and intuitive to navigate through. Users associate the home buttons with a return to the main menu, and this makes most navigation relatively straightforward. The most prominent usability issues were the confusions between purchased and active tokens and buttons on the schedules. We aim to address the confusion over active/purchased tokens by including the distinction within the app and forcing users to clarify whether or not they want to activate a token and providing at multiple steps the crucial information that indeed an activated token is only valid for 30 minutes, after which it disappears. The inclusion of “A” “B” for busses a/b was a little redundant, and a feature that confused our users, instead of streamlining the process. We decided the best way to solve this issue would be to change each schedule option to be it’s own button, that, when tapped, gives the option to set a notification. We hope this addition and design change will more clearly assist users with the app. Future prototypes of the app will not include the "a", "b" sections of the schedules.