Public Transport Victoria

Public Transport Victoria is a Victorian Government statutory authority. They manage Victoria's public transport network and the Metro ticketing system.

Note: This is a university project


UX Research

Background Research

Participant Screening

Usability Testing

Data Synthesis & Analysis

Building the Client Report


UX/UI Design

PTV App UX Research

Conducting user research on Victoria's public transportation app, PTV to identify the top five major problems with the PTV app.


Our design team have been approached by Public Transport Victoria (PTV) who want to improve their current digital product, the PTV App. They want our team to rebuild and redesign the PTV application since there are concerns that users find the app difficult to use and/or not enjoyable since back-end analytics indicate that usage is low, users are not completing tasks and the drop off rates to complete tasks are high.

The budget for the redesign/rebuild is limited so it was requested that our team do the necessary UX research to identify the top five major problems with the PTV app, then rank the problems by severity.

Project Timeline
  1. Background Research
  2. Participant Screening
  3. Usability Testing
  4. Data Synthesis & Analysis
  5. Building the Client Report


✏️  Background Research

Public Transport Victoria’s (PTV) app is a Victorian public transportation app that allows travellers to plan journeys, access to fare information, live tracking, receive live travel alerts and more. With a customer base of an average of 4 million customers using the PTV app every year, they are consistently trying to identify and pin-point on how they can improve its usability and experience for their customers.

In this report, the purpose of our study is to specifically understand how our target group can effectively use the PTV app to plan their journey from a location they’re unaware of, to their final destination, and any possible inconveniences they encounter.

In order to identify and analyse the PTV app in allignment with our purpose, our Usability Design team decided to evaluate the following features of the current app are the 'Journey Planner', 'Search Functionality', 'Disruption Labelling' and 'Favouriting Journeys'.

🔬  Research Objectives

Usability testing allows the UX/Interaction designer to grain insight into an existing design of prototype. The qualitative test provides the designer, design team and client insight into user pain points. It is a critical tool used to determine whether or not a product meets user expectations. It involves observing users as they attempt to complete tasks and it often conducted durig the early stages of development until a product’s release.

For this usability study, we decided to create research objectives in accordance to our purpose, followed up our chosen way of testing our users which is through a usability test, survey and interviews. This has enabled us to concentrate on specific areas and pain points that users may have when using the PTV App.

The Research Objectives:

1.  Understand why users are choosing the PTV app when travelling with Metro

2.  Understand the end-end process of how users currently plan and travel to their selected destination using the PTV app.

3.  Investigate how users approach and manage unexpected inconveniences

4.  Explore domain knowledge of the potential user

5.  Understand users' perceptions, emotions and thoughts towards the PTV app

🚶  Participant Screening

In order to perform Usability tests, we first need participants. Our Usability Design team came together with the following target user profile for PTV:

Target User Profile (for screening):

From this user profile, we created a Screener Questionnare in Google Forms to narrow down the participant pool and select 5 of those who fit the ideal user profile mentioned above.

Screener Questionnare that was sent out to potential candidates

Screener Questionnare Results

💻  Usability Testing

Participants were observed in a controlled setting as they were given an introduction, pre/post-interviews, scenarios and performed a series of tasks and a SUS test involving Public Transport Victoria’s mobile application.

Moderators guided testers through five tasks, instructing them to “think aloud” (i.e., narrate their thoughts and actions) as they worked through each task. The pre-defined tasks were designed to allow for exploration within certain areas and features of the application that may need improvement.

The Five Tasks

1. Search for a Disruption

2. Identify the Disruption and Find the Fastest Route

3. Plan and Select a Route With Fewest Transfers

4. Plan and Save Future Journey

5. Search for an Alternative Route

💾  Data Overview

The usability test consisted of five tasks with five corresponding scenarios. Each task has an ideal complete time and strength of diffculty. Our Usability Design Team came together to observe each participant on how they tackle each problem.

Data includes:
- Average time on Task & Success Rate

- Severity

- System Usability Scale (SUS) Score

- Post Survery Questionnare

- Key Quotes

Data Overview
Key Quotes taken from Participants

🔍  Key Findings & Insights

As we conducted the usability test for all five participants, there were quite a few observations that overlapped and were also different from participant to participant. Some common pain points the participants faced include:

Confusion with the disruption notice
Some participants had confusion with the disruption notice from the first glance, with few participants not being able to identify if there was a disruption. Some were not sure what the disruption meant as the description was unclear.

Confusion with the overlapping ‘Plan’ and ‘Search’ feature
Some participants had confusion between the ‘Plan’ and ‘Search feature, leading them to the same feature. Participants either chose by preference or couldn’t identify the difference between the two stating that ‘I’m not confident that it would give me something different’ (P5).

Trouble locating an address
Most participants had to specify the entire address in order to find the location. A partcipant recounted an experience where they had to search for the nearest train station as an address didn’t provide the correct station. The main pain point for users is that the ‘recently serched’ feature is blocked, making this feature difficult to be noticed.

Features users were not aware of
Some participants did not know that the ‘save a journey’ feature existed within the app. Within the disruption notice, most participants were not aware that they can be re-directed to the website to find out more about the disruption. Some participants also did not know that a ‘filter’ option was available to condense and filter out specific journeys.


📈  Our Conclusion & Recommendations

One of the most common reasons why users use PTV app is because of the accuracy and live update information about the train lines as well as the efficient information on how to get from a starting point to a destination. When compared to Google Maps, users conveyed that the timetable was not as precise and up to date as the PTV app. According to our post interview questions, users explained that most of the time their experience with PTV went pretty smoothly, however, during the usability test, we observed that our users had trouble with some navigations and functionalities in PTV app, as well as clarity issues when locating and understanding certain information about their journey.

Our five primary recommendations are to:

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