After two years working on the design and development of the new Metrovalencia's website (the company that manages the Valencia's subway network, which receives thousands of queries per day) a new need arises:
Updating and merging the main functions of the route planner, a set of tools for subway users for daily use.
During this time, we were able to collect a vast amount of data from subway users, so we gained a deeper knowledge and understanding on the central figure we should address. Notwithstanding, several in situ interviews and observation to users were considered necessary in order to observe how they operated with the site on a mobile platform, which was the most widely used due to the several factors: the contextual circumstances and the short span of time, with the use of this route planner.
In the first place, the route 'planner' was very canonical with an outdated structure strongly reminiscent of a rudimentary version of the Google Maps route planner. The initial concept emerged from idea of the user's most primary need, which was to get from point A to point B, on a specific date and time. However, the type of user that we were dealing with was far more complex.
The results of the interviews were highly conclusive in relation to our initial insights. Undoubtedly, the on-site interviews and surveys that we had conducted at the subway station were also really relevant. Being in contact with subway users was a great experience, and it will help us to approach field situations in a different way in future projects.
The insights showed us the three main pillars when planning a route in the Metrovalencia's website:
· The schedules surrounding the route.
· The schedules of the stations themselves.
· Forecast when wanting to organize a route.
During the following months after working on the main topics afore mentioned, a few proposals were presented to Metrovalencia's stakeholders. Topics that had been considered the core of the problem at the beginning (such as the map in the foreground or a user's personal area) were driven to the background, and the main insights were now on point.
In this way, users gain quick access (especially in the mobile version) to the functions they need in the first instance, eliminating the previous noise and minimizing the stress of the action on the site.
The latest version of the planner is currently in production and ready for use, pending updates in some of its functions, based on the latest needs of the users.