The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is North America’s largest transportation network, serving a population of 15.3 million people in the 5,000-square-mile area fanning out from New York City through Long Island, Southeastern New York State, and Connecticut. While visiting their website, I wondered why the UI is so complex and overwhelming and decided to some research on the MTA site. This confusion isn’t as prevalent with MTA’s competitor sites such as Hong Kong’s MTR or London’s TFL, meaning most people are probably unfamiliar with its interface, and is easier for testing. Moreover, the traffic of MTA is dropping with a lot of questions on MTA being “why is the design of MTA so bad”.
The project tackles and resolves several usability problems with the site. By redesigning the user flow, interface structure, and visuals, I would like to increase user stickiness by presenting relevant content for different users. User interviews were conducted to identify confusing aspects of the app. The research identified several aspects of MTA that could be improved:the search function, layout, typography, and information architecture.
Tool Used: Sketch, Illustrator, Invision, Photoshop, Pen and paper
To enhance the user experience of MTA, I needed to know what makes MTA great; what matters the most and how can the users easily find what they want. During the secondary research, I reviewed articles and statistics in order to better understand our problem and create a basis for my primary research. Acording to my research MTA has an average of 368,090 site visitors every day and each visitor spends only 3.39 minutes and browses a maximum of 3 pages within their single visit. Since 70% of MTA users acces the site through their mobile phones, I decided to focus on a mobile first approach.
I went to a public library, Starbucks and local coffee shops to test the current MTA site. Out of 30 people that I interviewed, 12 rarely visited the MTA site before; 5 people only used the app; 18 people are familiar with MTA site interface but found it inconvenient to use. So besides asking the questions, I also discussed with them about what they like or dislike about MTA
- -How do you describe yourself?
- -What mode of transportation do you use each week?
- -When do you use MTA site or app and why?
- -How transit savy are you?
- -How do you feel about your commute?
- -Which changes would improve your commute?
The interview helped me identify the problem that I needed to address. After observing the users in the coffee shops, I created user personas and mapped the users journey according to the data I collected(both from interview and online) and identified pain points in the experience. I realized that the majority of the pain points occurred when the user needed to find what they want.
For my research, I learned that in order to improve the user experience of the MTA site, it needs to present the most interesting content for a single user at a given time. However, the content presented currently is not orginized for each user experience. MTA failed to consider the specific needs of different users.
Based on the feedback I gained from the analysis, interviews and researches, I brainstormed how to improve the current user flow. There are 4 main improvements – trip planner, maps, purchase tickets and status updates. Basically, I merged schedules and maps into the “Trip Planner” page. I organized the information laid out at the homepage. Also added a purchase online ticket option with a personalized log in page.