Singapore’s premiere transport app
Singapore’s premiere transport app.
It had been quite a while since the SimplyGo was released to the Singapore public. However, user behaviour has changed considerably since then.
Our task was a sensitive one since the app had amassed both criticism and a loyal base of users who’d grown accustomed to how the app worked and didn’t want it to change. Our task was to speak with an extensive base of current users, prospective users and harsh critics of the app to know what was being done right and what was lacking.
What we did: Over the first half of 2021, the EIGHTFOUR team spoke with fellow travellers of all demographics: parents, students, working professionals, even those with disabilities to find out everything we could about the challenges they faced. This set the groundwork for what would be a brand new design constructed from the ground up for the modern Singaprean traveller.
We sat down with a collection of users of the old app who fell into various user groups: Promoters (those who love and recommend the app to others), Passive Users (those who use it from time to time) and Detractors (those who for whatever reason didn’t like the app at all). We wanted to know how these groups used the app, what they liked and didn’t like, and what other apps they used in conjunction to get around Singapore.
We also spoke to various non-users: Intenders (those who’ve heard good things and wanted to give it a shot) and Non-Intenders (those who either don’t know or don’t care).
Transit Link wanted to use this opportunity to re-think the digital brand, so we started off the design at a conceptual level & explored a new visual language. We settled on something all Singaporean travellers knew and understood - the train lines. It’s a motif used at nearly every travel touchpoint in the country and felt like the obvious choice for developing a design language.
The users we spoke to who were more advanced that while the app did have value in it’s functionality, it was heavily let down by the UX; particularly poor, messy navigation. To fix this, we started from scratch with a brand new I.A. and interaction model that was built from the ground up on all the user feedback we’d collected.
One of the major problems with the old app was that it made users work very hard to do basic things. Our job was to redesign all user flows to be guided experiences that didn’t require a lot of thought.
Another interesting thing we found among nearly all user groups was the attitude that apps shouldn’t attempt to do all things, but stick to doing one thing and doing it well. Since we’re talking about public transport in Singapore, the fundamental challenge this app was trying to solve was “how can we get Singaporeans from point A to B as easily as possible?”
What users needed was what we called our holy trifecta: Bus timings, Journey Planner, Transaction history. While a lot more was built indo the app (like concession cards, claims ‘etc’), these three provided the foundation.
The majority of users hated a lot of travel-based apps on the market for what they describe as “being too messy” - an impression that the app was packed with irrelevant things and just looked difficult to use. Uses seemed to formulate this perception within a few sections of opening the app & was difficult to shake.
Since we know the importance of first impressions, one interesting exercise we used to gauge those impressions is to ask users what kind of design looked the easiest to operate. The results were nearly universal: modern, simplified, straight to the point with as little branding as possible was what our users responded to.
We found that at least half of our users felt it necessary to use other apps simply because they allowed them to save multiple bus stops for easy reference. Including this in our app was a no brainer.
Now users of the app could easily favourite their most frequented bus stops to see which buses were leaving and when.
While bus timings and transaction history were already the staple of the app, we knew our users were relying heavily on other apps like Google Maps to see how to get around. One advantage we had was that all bus and train data was ours and thus, more accurate.
We designed the final module in the holy trifecta to make the offering irresistible: A Journey planner that utilised the accurate timings Transit Link is known for.
While this redesign brought with it a lot of new functionality and features, we were careful to also improve the much-loved aspects of the app that have become everyday necessities to a very loyal user base. Account sharing for parents to be able to locate their children, or trip history & claims are some of the things we revisited and improved.
We can do a lot