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Self Service TVM - Redesign

UX UI Designer & Researcher

Overview

This research focuses on the human factors issues associated with self-service ticket vending machines (TVMs) at train stations. TVMs are designed to offer a quick and easy ticket-purchasing option at stations, with approximately one-third of customers opting for this method. However, a 2017 study by the Office of Rail and Road revealed that one in five buyers still struggles to acquire the most suitable ticket due to the inadequate usability of these machines. The project aims to explore and address these usability issues for enhanced user satisfaction.

My Role

UX & UI Designer

Tools 

Figma

Optimal Workshop

Google Forms

Miro

Google Scholar

Microsoft Teams

Team

6 members

Timeline

Duration - 8 Weeks

Research - 2 Weeks

Design - 6 Weeks

Problem

How to make self-service ticket vending machines at train stations more accessible for novice users?

Goal

  • The project's goal revolves around the specific scenario of purchasing train tickets from vending machines, catering to a diverse user demographic, including novices with varying physical attributes, visual capabilities, and levels of understanding.

  • The primary objective is to pinpoint and execute enhancements to the machines, focusing on improving both the interface and design to achieve a more user-friendly experience.

Observations, Interviews and Case study of users

We conducted a series of observations and interviews at both Euston station and Marylebone station to understand how users interact with the machines. This analysis aimed to capture users' behaviors and opinions while utilizing the machines at these stations.

Users need to bend down to view the ticketing screen options, and each time a purchase is made, they have to stoop down as well.

There are numerous machines at the station, but it's challenging to discern their intended purposes.

Travelers purchase group tickets, but there is inadequate space to stand and view the screen.

The credit card slot and contactless reader are not easily noticeable.

Process of buying Tickets

Select Destination

Select  Jourey Type

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Too many option for buy a ticket. Which one is correct one?

It’s too complicated for finding my destination.

I don’t want to watch the text of the information section.

Check payment detail

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Add Railcard

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Why I have to restart the whole process when I just changed ONE thing?

Finally I found whrere I can add my discount card.

No idea what I selected to make this price. I forgot it again...

Case study of users

Opinions on Online Groups

TripAdvisor

We'll visit London in a few weeks. London will be visited by train on Saturday and Sunday. Harlow Mill station's ticket office is closed on weekends. Nevertheless, there's a ticket machine. Will our family get the best price? Should we buy our tickets in advance and use the ticket machine? We've never used a ticket machine, so we're worried we'll act like headless chickens and buy overpriced tickets.

Those ticket machines have confusing programming. The machine should sell super off-peak day returns, but it may take a few clicks to get the options right. I'd buy the ticket online and pick it up at a manned station in your situation. (Bring your credit card for an ID check when you pick them up).

Reddit

I bought an 'any time' train ticket because I couldn't work out what 'off peak' meant.

Those ticket machines have confusing programming. The machine should sell super off-peak day returns, but it may take a few clicks to get the options right. I'd buy the ticket online and pick it up at a manned station in your situation. (Bring your credit card for an ID check when you pick them up).

Exploration of HF of SSTs

By conducting a literature review, interviews, observations, and collecting online group opinions, we investigated the human factor challenges experienced by new users of Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) in three key areas: ergonomics, vision, and cognitive abilities.

Human factor issue.png

Barriers to the Use of Self-Service Ticket Vending Machine

Human Factor problems user face in the User Interface

Process of buying Tickets

Select Destination

Select  Jourey Type

7550.jpg

Color

All colours are hard to read.

Color

White lettering on a dark background is hard to read.

Color

Poor text-to-background contrast

Vision Problem

Size

Same-sized buttons for different functions

Font Size

Too small to read in the information part

61363.jpg

Cognitive
Problem

Unorganized IA

Putting diverse purpose functions in the same section confuses users.

Difficult to select the destination

Typing a location is harder than just picking one from a list, especially for people from other countries.

Check payment detail

IMG_1133.png

Add Railcard

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Color

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Vision Problem

Every button has a color that doesn't make sense (why are the "add railcard" and "pay now" buttons red?).

Color

White lettering on a dark background is hard to read.

Color

Poor text-to-background contrast

Font Size

The icon is too confusing and hard to understand for the user.

Information overload

61363.jpg

Too many information in one page

Cognitive
Problem

No Clear guidance

Incomprehensible terminology and information

No Clear guidance

Most of the time, people can't find the discount area on the screen because they don't know that adding the railcard means getting the discount.

There is no details provide for the price, makes user confused

And if you choose the wrong information, you have to go back to the original screen and start over.

The difficulties faced by the users..

The accompanying graphic illustrates the process for novice users, particularly emphasizing first-time users, including children and individuals with disabilities. 

The ticket-buying process is segmented into three parts: deciding to purchase tickets, selecting tickets on the screen, and completing the payment to collect the tickets.

User Journey of Original Design

User Journey of Ori Design.png

1. Decide to buy ticket(s) for the journey

The inadequate height and angle of the Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) create challenges for users. It proves especially problematic for individuals with disabilities as the height is excessive. Additionally, the screen's small size poses difficulties for groups of people trying to view it simultaneously.

2. Selecting ticket(s)

The process of buying tickets feels unclear. As observed in the user flow, the system is confusing. Users usually need to start it all over again when they want to make changes which makes it hard to use.

User Flow of Original Design

Orignal User flow (before revised).png

3. Payment for Tickets

Due to the absence of a clear structure in the allocation, novice users struggle to differentiate between various payment types. Additionally, the current setup requires many individuals to bend over to reach the payment area, posing an accessibility challenge for disabled individuals who may find it difficult or impossible to do so.

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Design Aims

Key areas of enhancement

  • User Interface Design

  • User Flows

  • Effectiveness of payment solution.

Primary Focus on

  • Color

  • Font

  • Menu structure for UI and flow improvement.

Accessbility

  • Consideration of machine size for accessibility.

Exclusion of no essential functions

  • Oyster Card top - up

  • Pre-paid ticket collection.

  • Travel card extension.

User Journey of new design

The angle and height have been modified to allow people of different heights to touch the screen, so users won't become tired from poor posture. In the "User Interface Designer" section, the second portion of picking a ticket has been simplified to improve the user experience. Users simply need to choose cash or digital payment after selecting tickets. They can then instantly and intuitively find payment equipment.

User Journey of New Design.png

User Flow of new design

The revised user flow emphasizes ticket purchases. It simplified the payment page process into two steps. The screen now has a "back" button so users can change their minds without starting over.

userflow.JPG

Physical Design

To ensure inclusivity for novice users, we took into account variations in height and mobility. Before initiating the design process, we collected relevant statistics to inform our approach. Utilizing current data, we proceeded to create a prototype that aligns with the diverse height and mobility requirements of our target user group.

Solution

The proposed solution involves relocating the new design to the center of the station, departing from the current practice of positioning them near the walls in most stations. Additionally, incorporating a well-lit and prominent lightbox at the top of the machine serves as a clear indicator of usage, aiding novice users in locating the machines more easily, and addressing the challenges identified during interviews. Moreover, creating spare space between the machines not only facilitates smooth pedestrian flow but also ensures ample room for a group of people to purchase tickets comfortably.

 

Old version vs New version

Since the allocation doesn't follow a structure, novice users can't distinguish between payment types. Many people must bend over to reach their payments, and disabled people cannot.

Poor Navigation :

Too many buttons on the same page with difficult to comprehend text.

Capture11.JPG

Prioritize Features :

Put "Buy Ticket" in the primary focus area and reduce user selection options.

One Step One Page

In this circumstance, novices may hesitate to continue if they forget what they selected.

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Side Bar

Keep Users informed of their selection, thereby decreasing cognitive burden.

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Payment Preview on last page

Novices cannot understand what they have selected through the total price

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Payment Preview on last page

Once the user has completed all selections, the "pay" button will become active.

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Misleading position

Information is too scattered, which leads to a low understanding efficiency.

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Too Low Colour contrast

Buttons in different formats are confusing. Color contrast is not suitable for reading.

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Increase reading coherence

Ticket type and detail ticket type selections are put together 

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Colour contrast

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Outcome and Learning

  • In our study, we delved into the habits and attitudes of novice users of Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) to uncover challenges and gaps in current technology. Our innovative approach takes into account users' cognitive abilities, physical attributes, and height, resulting in a final design that successfully aligns with our usability and user-practicality goals.

  • This research explored the integration of human factors into new creations, emphasizing the importance of observing and interviewing users beyond academic literature reviews. These methods proved crucial in monitoring user engagement and feedback, providing valuable insights for our design process.

  • Observations and interviews played a pivotal role in understanding how users interact with the system and their perspectives. The information gathered significantly influenced our final design.

  • Given more time, we would have conducted user testing to further refine our solution, ensuring an even more user-friendly design that caters to the diverse needs of all users.

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