Citybus limited is one of the major bus operators that provides franchised bus service in Hong Kong. The company created an app for its passenger to check the bus arrival time and it's currently ranked #12 in the travel category app in App store. (As of Oct 16 2023).
As a frequent user of the app, I found this app very unintuitive and often took many clicks to find the information I want. I can tell how many people felt the same when I saw most people waiting for the bus were also using the app.
⚠️ Disclaimer: This is a personal project and is not affiliated with NWS Transport Services Limited. The case study may have limited coverage due to limited access of information I can gathered such as data, technical constraints etc. This case study was done for my personal learning.
To kickstart the project, I started gathering the problems I've encountered during my daily usage. I also went to the App Store and Google Play to read user's comment about the app to understand their pain points.
"I understand that ads are huge source of income for app developers and providers, but please get your basics right before attempting anything fancy or promo ads."
"Need to key in the bus route in order to find out which stop you are at and then to provide an estimated arrival time of the buses"
"How many clicks do we need in order to find the bus arrival time!!!"
"The app UI is so poorly designed that you have to click down at least 5 levels (including the ads) just to get to the bus stop and check when the next bus is arriving."
By Tatty Fung
I downloaded other competitor's app and performed same tasks to check the bus arrival time to understand the pros & cons of each searching method.
To understand how people feel whenusing the app, I surveyed 14 people aged between 16-45 using google forms.
Below are the questions I asked in the user survey to learn about the target users and their thoughts about the app:
The app failed to serve it's main purpose of helping users to find the bus arrival time. In general, the problem is cause by 3 aspects such as
In order to design a comprehensive solution that covers all potential users. I have created 3 personas based on my findings as my design reference.
Education: Bachelor's degree
Lives in: Tsuen Wan, Kowloon
Marital Status: Single, living with family
Justin is a 28-year-old senior accountant who works in an accounting firm in Central.
He often takes Citybus for daily commute and going to different places with friends. He missed his bus sometimes and have to wait for the next one.
He wants an app which he can check the next bus arrival time so that he can leave home as late as he can and go home as soon as possible.
His biggest concern is whether the app is easy to use and provide useful information.
How long do I have to wait for the next bus? I've been standing here for 20 minutes. It's so hot under the sun!
Education: High School Diploma
Lives in: Central, HK Island
Marital status: Single
Occupation: Domestic Helper
Maria is a 34-year-old domestic helper from Indonesia who works for a local family with 2 kids.
Maria usually takes Citybus to send the kids between home and school and also meeting friends on Sunday.
She often uses the app to check the bus arrival time but find it quite difficult to use. She also wants to know which bus can take her to certain district such as Aberdeen, Qurray bay etc. Sometimes when she bring 2 kids to school, she wants to know which bus would arrive first so that they could queue for the one who arrives first.
Her biggest concern is to find out which route she should take and whether the bus will arrive at school on time so that the kids won't be later for school.
Charlie, Molly! Be quick, we are gonna be late for school! Don't know how long we'll have to wait if we miss the bus!
Education: Primary School
Lives in: Sham Shui Po
Marital status: Married
Ming is a 70-year-old retired government employee who is enjoying his retired life.
Ming lives in Sham Shui Po and travels around to meet friends and explore the city by bus.
Ming finds Google Maps a little bit difficult to use and often ask friends/family or use the bus app to check which route to take to go somewhere. However, he gets frustrated sometimes with the Search By Destination function.
His biggest concern is what bus he should take to get to where he wants to go.
Aiya! Why is it so difficult to check which bus to take to go to Stanley! And how do I check where is the stop and the next bus arrival time
With the 3 personas we defined. Based on their needs and behaviours, I have changed how the app works for them.
Starting with the first draft of wireframe to get an idea of the layout and how the information should be displayed.
I further refined the design by simplifying the UI, remove unnecessary information and improve the readability and usability of the design.
User searches by route number to see the next bus arrival time and other information. They can also save their most frequently search route to have quick access to its information. I have picked this page as the home page since it is the most common way user check the bus arrival time.
User searches by nearby stops and see the bus arrival time of multiple routes or go to the saved stops to see multiple bus arrival time of a specific stop.
User with location service on can search by destination to see where to go and which bus to take to get to the destination. User can also set the Home and Work location to have quick search on which bus they can take. Besides that, user can also click the boxes below to do quick route search to a specific district.