IMPROVE THE MOVE
A REDESIGN OF CALTRAIN TICKET STATIONS
How do you buy a train ticket? You probably use a screen to purchase. But how would you if you were blind? Voice user interface.
Improve accessibility for blind passengers when buying a train ticket, specifically for Caltrain.
Role and Skills:
As the UX designer and researcher, I conducted interviews on site. I used the Voiceflow tool to create a voice user interface (VUI) and designed a simple and on brand screen to accompany the VUI.
Users can purchase tickets using a voice user interface that is paired with the visual interface of the screen. This pairing allows for increased accessibility while keeping the familiar. The voice user interface that is succinct and clear for both the blind, visually impaired, and sighted.
THE SCENE, THE PROBLEM
Audio Reliant vs. Screen Use when buying a train ticket
The use of the audio function with no screen took about two minutes in real time. The clip below is sped up 2x. The use of a screen took less than 30 seconds.
Public transit ticket systems lack effective design for blind and vision impaired individuals compared to sighted individuals.
How might we redesign and refine the ticket purchasing process for public transit in order to create an easier and more intuitive experience for blind and visually impaired riders?
I asked sighted individuals at the San Francisco Caltrain station to use only the audio function to buy a ticket. Individuals had a variety of experience with the Caltrain ticket purchasing process.
AT SAN FRANCISCO STATION
Kerri, 35 years old
General Manager at a Fast Food Chain
-unfamiliar with the Caltrain system
-felt no connection between the keypad and audio
-had to pay close attention to audio
Manuel, 35 years old
-rides Caltrain three times a week
-needed more information about zones
Oleg, 40 years old
-rides Caltrain once a week
-familiar with the train and ticket station
-finds spacial navigation most painful
Mahesh, 52 years old
VP of Software Engineer
-frustrated with lack of back button
-had to replay the audio
4 years working for Caltrain
-sends information to train conductors of passengers needing assistance (PNA)
-sees about 4 blind passengers a day
-tells blind/visually impaired location of platforms
VIA PHONE AND WEB
New Mexico Commission for the Blind
-be aware of ambient noise
KillerLag r/askblind people
Instructor, Orientation and Mobility for the Blind
-older clients may not know how to use new technology
-headphone jacks change
Headphone jacks are not standardized or updated at the same rate technology updates.
Photo courtesy of Reddit user KillerLag
INSIGHTS AND ISSUES
Instructions are long, inefficient, and sometimes unclear.
Users must pay close attention to audio.
A "back" or "cancel" feature is needed.
Technology of the physical machines is not entirely up to date.
I imagined personas for a blind user and a visually impaired user. This takes into account users with different levels of seeing ability.
David, 62 years old
blind since birth
does not drive
occasionally visits friends in San Francisco
Jennifer, 35 years old
visually impaired, low vision
commutes to work at least four times a week
works long hours
FLOW AND PROTOTYPES
I mapped out flows for a conversational VUI experience. After, I planned the screens to be paired with each part of the VUI.
VUI MAP WITH VOICEFLOW TOOL
USING THE VUI
AUDIO RELIANT for BLIND
PRO USER for VISION IMPAIRED and SIGHTED
The screen populates the user's audio as he or she speaks. The VUI asks for any information needed to purchase a ticket.
The black, red, and white provide higher contrast for low vision users and keep with Caltrain's branding
Voice user interface needs to keep in mind:
Intent of speaker
Accent and tone
Accessibility should not be an afterthought when designing. It needs to be a natural part of the design process. The design world is getting there but has not yet arrived.