ONE EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE

ABOUT THE CLIENT:

Stockholm Transit (in Sweden, known as SL, Storstockholms Lokaltrafik) is the administration in charge of the public transportation in Stockholm county, Sweden.

Over 800 000 commuters travel by public transport in Stockholm daily, either by bus, metro, commuter train, local rail services, or boats.

 

BUSINESS GOALS:
  • Integrate Stockholm Transit’s main services into a single app
  • Motivate the 800 000 daily commuters use the new digital service
  • Address a wide variety of needs and expectations, from age to accessibility to visitors
  • Simplicity and ease of use
USER NEEDS:
  • Address a wide variety of needs and expectations, from age to accessibility to visitors
  • Simplicity and ease of use

IMPACT:

The goal for the new Stockholm Transit app was to gain 250 000 unique active users by the end of 2016. It was launched in May of 2016 and within the first 3 months reached over 270 000 unique active users. It was downloaded 1 million times. 

CHALLENGE: ONE APP FOR EVERYBODY

Stockholm Transit decided very quickly that they wanted to integrate all features into a single app, which includes: ticket purchase, journey planner and traffic info. This puts high demands on design and ease of navigation within the app. The main challenge for this design was to accommodate all types of users and their specific needs. 

It needed to address the everyday commuter, but also the occasional traveler; the native citizen and the tourist; old and young; and persons with disabilities. For some users the ability to quickly buy a single ticket would be key, while for an inexperienced traveler being able to find the right journey and plan ahead would be more crucial.  For the large number of commuters already set up with monthly transit cards, swiftly finding the next departure and being informed of any delays would be the most important feature.

DIRECTION: DESIGN GOALS

In addition to helping align these challenges, we started out by identifying four aspects that we wanted to cover in our final design.

Usability and Accessibility.  ‘Leave no traveler behind’ became a mantra that we repeated through the process. Focus was put in research to better understand the needs of different types of users, identifying requirements of vulnerable groups like the visually impaired was of special importance.

A New Visual Design Direction. Aligning with Stockholm Transit’s brand while ensuring that iconography and readability was adapted and optimized for the mobile context. It was also important that the app communicated a “feeling of Stockholm”, which is shown through the warmth and friendliness of the citizens of this capital in the north. Our goal was to create an app that felt personal, not only relying on the standard components found in iOS or Android platforms. We felt that the main views of the app had to be unique, iconic, and marketable, not only another generic travel app in the app store.

Optimized For Efficiency. A majority of the tickets bought are single fare tickets for adults, within the most central zone of Stockholm. Many of which are bought on the fly, sometimes while the train or bus is arriving. We needed to ensure that the most common tasks were easily accessible and possible to perform on the run, even with one hand occupied, for instance holding a bag or a stroller. 

Scalability. It was evident that the client has ambitions for their service were already planning for additional features to be added. The app was to be developed continuously over time and so we needed to make sure it was possible to build other services into it, taking an extensible platform based approach. 

Research session, testing the prototype with a Stockholm Transit user

PROCESS:

By combining Stockholm Transit’s own vast experience and understanding of their customers’ habits with our own research, we could quickly identify the problems and prioritize the features to create a foundation for our design. From there we began sketching several direction which were realized into high-fidelity, interactive prototypes. 

Topp frequently utilizes prototyping continuously throughout our design process to rapidly evaluate patterns, designs and structures. Though it is commonly said that ”seeing is believing”,  we believe “interacting is believing” is an even more effective and powerful approach. This was especially true in this project. Once comfortable with the main interactions, we reached out to Sweden’s national association for the visually impaired, Synskadades Riskförbund, to test out our prototype, and provide invaluable feedback. Their unique perspectives and input was crucial in informing the final design and helped us to optimize elements like voice-over, contrast and colors.

WHAT THE PROTOTYPES WERE USED FOR:
  1. To communicate ideas to the client and set a direction: We began the project by doing research and workshops. Once we had identified the problems we went into sketching and then we used prototypes to evaluate our ideas and individual patterns. It helped us in evaluating the design, communicating the idea to the client, and eventually moving forward in another direction. 
  2. For user testing: Once setting the direction we tried out new patterns and went to the user groups to test them out. 
  3. Reference to the final product: Once the testing and iterations were done, we reached the detailing stage, which consisted of tweaking transitions and adjusting the visuals. Apart from further design evaluation, this prototype was also used for a reference for the developers. 

"Topp is involved in a strategic collaboration with Stockholm's Transport Administration and SL (Stockholm Transit). Their design, prototyping and research form the base for SL's journey planner and ticket purchase app. Early on, Topp understood our challenges and desires, and during these 8 months we have worked very closely. The result is an app that is easy to use with nearly 1 million downloads in just the first few months." 

Mats Ellman, Marketing Strategist at Stockholm Public Transport