We’ve been shortlisted for the ‘Best User Experience’ award at this year’s Big Chip Awards

We’ve been shortlisted for the ‘Best User Experience’ award at this year’s Big Chip Awards

Tonight is the night we find out if we have won the Best User Experience Award at the 2018 Big Chip Awards in Manchester UK.

We have been shortlisted with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) for the work we did redesigning their website which went live to all visitors in November 2017.

Manchester Digital’s Big Chip Awards is the UK's longest running digital industry awards and the biggest outside London. It has an unrivalled reputation for judging consistency and integrity. Run by and for the digital industry - not for profit - the Big Chip Awards are for all things digital in the north of England. We are honoured to have been shortlisted for the Best User Experience award this year. Here is our story which we shared with the judges.

The users of Manchester’s travel systems were fundamental to this project. We needed to quickly understand who the users were, the changing demands of the users on the travel infrastructure and the role travel played in thiereveryday lives. Using Lean UX principles we set to work to understand the problem, question preconceived assumptions; to deliver the best outcomes for the users whilst delivering business objectives.

Since it’s launch, the TfGM site has grown in terms of users from 72K users in May to 420k users in February 2018. In recent months, we have more than doubled the rate that users return to the site from 7% to 17%

We’ve achieved this by listening to our users and gathering insights from thousands of people. Providing them with journey planners, live service updates, continually updated facilities as well as cross transport pollination we allow users to come and go with the information they sought. This in turn leads to repeat visits time and time again.

TfGM is a digital service that revolves around being able to deliver information at any time, under any strain in an instant. Being a new service, we have seen behaviours change. At first “engaged” users averaged 61-180 seconds online. Now with the site frequently utilised, we average 0-10s time online. *’Engaged’ referring to someone carrying out a key service goal.

Delivering a public digital service will of course be open to unexpected events, and at these times, we have to deliver. Previous incarnations have had disrupted service (often downtime) which for a public service isn’t acceptable. The new TfGM digital service has performed, every day. From recent weather, line incidents, and public incidents, we have had 3 vast spikes since launch and throughout; the site has been available with page load being maintained at 3s. What is more interesting is that whilst the site has still delivered, it has delivered to a change of needs. For example, when trams were grounded; tram pages naturally pushed users to other modes of transports (bus, train, public transport) rather than further information on prices, maps or tram times which would have been irrelevant.

Very quickly and easily and at times of duress; TfGM delivers the right information for users, enabling them to get on with their day to day activities.

The site was built for the whole of Greater Manchester. For a standard month, we see use from the wider area (Stockport, Oldham, Bolton, Salford, Rochdale) equalling the central area; 25% respectively. Service status, a popular service also reflects that regional pattern of use covering all lines.

The site also provides a multi modal approach to transport. Away from the trams and buses; page use shows travel isn’t one dimensional. Top pages contain park and ride, walking, cycling and the facilities at stations. It is a service for the people, built by understanding the diverse needs of modern life.

We gathered insights from thousands of people, and discovered that, when it comes to accessibility and understanding the complexities of commuting across the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, one-size-fits-all apps fall short.

Using Lean UX techniques such as assumption mapping and hypothesis driven development, we prototyped ideas, testing them with real users. We decided to only invest in developing features proven to meet user needs, instead of wasting money building features that are never used.

The team worked closely with the Disability Design Reference Group throughout the project. Crucially, this meant conducting testing with people with real world accessibility needs.

The end result is an accessible & intuitive website for everyone irrespective of ability, age, language or digital literacy. Our users wanted to consume real-time travel data quickly on mobile devices whilst on the move. Being able to scan & access information quickly, with ease was vital to the design. The user centric design goes beyond template-based solutions. By integrating local cultural, historical and creative references we have built a user experience design that is so intuitive, it appears almost invisible. We have successfully delivered the site with the knowledge that we have designed a better journey for everyone.

 We all have our fingers crossed here at Valtech for when the winners are announced at tonight’s ceremony. Best of luck to everyone shortlisted!