Hi, we’re the RideBus team and we’re working on a website that lets you quickly compare bus prices online. You can even make a RideBus account and save your frequent routes to get you in and out even faster.
This study is to learn about what does and does not work with our current design. Your name will not be published. This study is for a project in Professor Sylvan’s Human-Computer Interaction course at Northeastern University. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and you may stop at any time and request that your data be omitted from the study. We value your time and only ask for about 20 minutes. At the end, we will compensate you with some candy.
As I was saying before, RideBus is a website that allows you to find and compare bus prices. The purpose of today’s session is to help us develop the website’s interface. Before you test the site, you should know that we have not implemented the site digitally. Today you will be interacting with a paper prototype with your fingers and a pen.
We’ll be giving you some tasks to complete on the site that we think are representative of the tasks people will do on the RideBus site. We may ask you to do thinks like search for a route or set up an account. All we ask of you is to let us know when you’re confused or think something isn’t clear.
We’re testing the interface here; so like I said, let us know if you get stuck or have any feedback regarding the site. We still have some rough edges so we’d like some feedback from you before we move towards the final design.
Isaac will have the role as the computer. He’ll be moving the papers as you progress through the site. He’s not allowed to interact with you besides what you see on the screen. Pieces of tape will indicate where you can write with pen and you can press buttons with your finger.
I’ll be sitting here by your side if you need help and the rest of the team will quietly be taking notes.
Do you have any questions before we start?
Here’s your first task.
- Search for and select a bus route, save the route
- Create a user account, log in, search for a route, and save it
- Log into your account, search for bus routes, filter the results, select the route.
- College students, thrifty, age 18 - 25, travel occasionally by bus, convenience is key.
User1 tried to search for routes only entering in a parameter into the “Start” field. An error message needs to be displayed in this case, informing the user to enter both an origin and destination.
User1 also tried to use the incorrect format for start and end. The forms are expecting a city and a state, while the user tried to input addresses. Solution would be to either produce an error on invalid input or to allow for addresses to be used, routing to the bus stations closest to the inputted addresses.
User2 asked “Do I need to log in?” at the very beginning. This isn’t so much a usability problem more as a choice. If the user logs in first, they are able to use all the features that having a RideBus account provides. However, the site is completely operable sans account. However, the question could also indicate that it is unclear whether or not an account is logged in initially.
User3 saved a few routes and then decided they wanted to view their saved routes. However, this functionality was not implemented at the time of the test. To solve this, a section in the user’s account could be dedicated to their saved bus routes.
Also, when each of the user’s attempted to log in, it was brought to our attention that we neglected to add a button that would submit the provided username and password for the account, making it impossible to log in.
What was easy?
User1: Finding where to place my origin and destination.
User2: Searching for a route, logging in (once the button issue was fixed).
User3: Saving a route.
What was difficult?
User1: Getting straight what exactly was to be input into the start and end fields. Initially I was unsure whether or not to use addresses or what.
User2: Logging into my newly created account; the button was missing!
Why would you use this system?
User1: It would be unlikely that I would. I live in RI so it is much easier to take the commuter rail back as opposed to using one of the various bus lines around.
User2: I would use the system only if I were going somewhere outside of Boston that was too far to rent a Hertz To Go car to use. Otherwise, my family is in RI so it makes more sense to take the commuter rail rather than taking a bus.
User3: I would use the system if I were visiting family in New York or taking a trip somewhere outside of Boston.
Why wouldn’t you use the system?
User1: I don’t take buses that often.
User2: It is infrequent when I take busses, but when I do, I would likely use a system similar to this.
User3: I wouldn’t use the system if it stole my information and sold it.
How well would this system fit into your lives?
User1: I don’t take busses that often, so not very well.
User2: I take busses infrequently, but this system or something similar would definitely be used when I need to make that trip.
User3: I would be able to use the system to compare bus fare between companies so that I could get the best value going home or on a trip.
What did the system not do that you wish it did?
User1: I wish the system would allow me to buy tickets in the system itself instead of being redirected to the bus line’s website.
User2: I wish the system would solve world peace and hunger.
User3: Not provided
- Ben Lyaunzon: Helped perform paper prototyping
- Isaac Boehman: Project Manager, created paper prototype, created blog post, helped perform paper prototyping.
- Jake Ascher: Helped perform paper prototyping.
- David Ciatto: Created the briefing, helped perform paper prototyping.