The Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) is a regional transit governance and funding structure organized in 2018 with the focus of improving coordination, integration, and efficiency of transit in metro Atlanta. Working alongside 12 partner organizations that provide or directly affect public transit, the ATL’s geographic scope spans 13 counties in and around Atlanta for the stated purpose of connecting “the region through seamless transit.”
The aim of this group project was to produce a web app for the ATL that met the public transit riders’ needs for efficient, coordinated, up-to-date information related to the various transportation providers under the larger umbrella of the ATL.
User Flow/Site Map
Group Design Immersive Student Project
2 weeks (June 2019)
Our team set out to familiarize ourselves broadly with the ATL and the larger public transit system in metro Atlanta through a variety of means. We utilized secondary research to review available organizational materials (including brand guide). We found participants for user interviews through screener surveys and word-of-mouth - most of whom were regular-to-frequent riders of public transportation.
Additionally, we conducted competitive analysis of several public transit apps. Only 2 of 12 ATL partner organizations have dedicated apps - the rest of our research at this point was applied to general transit apps that were unaffiliated with any specific public transit provider in Atlanta. We also considered apps from other large metropolitan areas such as Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.
Finally, we visited Marta (the largest bus and rail transit line in metro Atlanta) as a team to experience firsthand the process of determining how to initially plan and navigate the system, purchase fares, and then ride the transit system itself. This process was helpful in giving us a broad perspective on the unique challenges of public transportation here in the greater Atlanta area.
Additionally, we conducted competitive analysis of several public transit apps. Only 2 of 12 ATL partner organizations have dedicated apps - the rest of our research at this point was applied to general transit apps that were unaffiliated with any specific public transit provider in Atlanta. We also considered apps from other large metropolitan areas such as Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. 55% of the public transit apps that we surveyed did not offer half of the expected/needed features that had been highlighted from our initial research findings with public transit riders.
We used affinity mapping to synthesize our interview data - this was paired with insights gained from our on-site visit and competitive analysis in order to produce 3 different user personas representing various levels of public transit familiarity and usage - our chief persona (Theo) was a regular-though-not-daily rider who likes to use public transit for activities like sporting events. Public transit users like Theo have several pain points in knowing how the public transit system works and how to access real, pertinent information effectively and efficiently for their commute.
ATL users are unable to conveniently access accurate and essential information related to the system, routes, fares, and conditions affecting public transit in metro Atlanta. Users also feel frustrated with the commuting process because there is no integration between the partner transit systems or step by step directions for navigating to their destination.
We believe that a mobile application that efficiently brings real-time updates to schedules and routes, as well as ticketing and fares, will enable users to more effectively navigate the public transit system in metro Atlanta.
We collaborated as a team to produce initial sketches around the specific flow that we created, working individually on pages or sections of the flow and then deliberating which parts of each person's sketch we wanted to continue to move forward into the stage of wireframes.
We began to build out the wireframes towards a prototype with a single user flow that saw the user input a destination, select a route option, and then purchase fare and complete the route. We incorporated color early in the process as we believed it would be essential in the overall effectiveness of the app. Throughout the process of building the wireframes we each offered our opinions and thoughts as to how to best incorporate the variety of features that we felt we needed to include, and usability testing provided helpful insight into some issues that we were having in our layout that were confusing users.
Finally, once we felt like we had arrived at a solid place with our prototype, I took the lead on working on the final mockups with more complete graphics and cleaned up layout. Again, the team collaborated with feedback and help on what would be best in our iterations at this point. We were limited in our ability to do usability tests on the mockup due to time but we were able to discern some further iterations for the future - particularly in relation to color choices.