Uergo : Offering transparency to public transit
An exploration in how to develop trust with systems that traditionally feel dishonest
Just outside, waiting in line, are 20 riders each with a phone in hand. All wondering where the 4:15 bus is. The thing was, I worked at the company that built the app that supported this information. When I asked why these queued riders weren’t using the app, the answer was unanimously “It doesn’t really work and it’s hard to use.”
Given this feedback, and as someone that hasn’t used the app before I decided to check it out. The first thing I did of course was download the app. The reviews on the app store weren’t great and our app store rating were abysmal. After downloading the app I decided to use the app and take public transit to and from work for the next month. I should mention that our office was directly across the street from the train station, and I did take the train most mornings, but drove to and from the station in the morning. The trains were a sore spot for me, but I personally never felt the need to use an app since there were digital signs everywhere with estimated arrival times.
So now with app in hand I made the move to taking the bus to and from. My first impression of the app was that it was clearly created by developers that understood the ins and outs of the transit system. Even though I knew the ins and outs as well, it still took me a ton of time to search my route, find the right one, and then digest the information being shown. I had to agree with the riders I spoke with earlier. It was hard to use. It did work, but it worked in the way that it makes sense to the makers of the app, not the person running out the door unsure of whether or not they’ll make it to work on time.
Here are some screens of the original app.