How can we ensure key information about Seats and Extras is not overlooked by users?
Keeping them informed without disrupting their flow.

Who are First Group?

First Group is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America.

Its brands include Great Western Railway (GWR), South Western Railway and Transpennine Express.

This focus of this piece of work was for GWR but needed to be applied across the other brands.

What are Seats and Extras?

Seats and Extras are additional options users can choose to enhance their journey:

A screen displaying the different Seats and Extras options

The cross-functional team

My role

The challenge

During development of the GWR app, user testing identified that important Seats and Extras information was being overlooked. This was due to helper text being too long (v1).

I trialled improving the way information was presented by separating it into a bold title and supportive text (v2). This was unsuccessful and further exploration was needed.

Start with the user

Who are they? meet them and listen to them.

GWR caters to a wide variety of users.

I visited Kings Cross station to better understand train travellers’ frustrations, pain points and opportunities.

My learnings led me to design for accessibility and a low tech competency.

Meeting and interviewing potential users at King's Cross Station

Competitor Research

Once I understood the business and user goals, I began to explore other transport booking apps. I noted there were different ways of presenting the additional elements of ticket purchasing.

Trainline, for instance, reduces the work the user has to do by pre-selecting extras; such as reserving a seat. However, this solution was not compatible with the GWR backend.

A few of the competitors I looked at during the research phase

Exploring solutions

Sketching and sharing work

When starting a new design I like to loosely throw some ideas down on paper. This can empower quick conversations with other members of the team.

I find that sharing work early with the team leads to better, more considered designs.

For Seats and Extras I enjoyed quickly exploring different methods of providing additional information about the key areas.

Some early sketches for the overlay

High fidelity iterations

I guerrilla tested initial concepts using PlusBus as an example.

Some explorations of potential approaches

Final designs

The full screen overlays may feel disruptive if all four are seen in the same transaction. However, it is unlikely two or more Seats and Extras options will be selected in one transaction.

In addition, the full screen overlay for each option will only display the first time the user selects that specific option.

A Seats and Extras flow selecting Seat Reservation on iOS

The final overlay designs for iOS

A Principle prototype showing the overlay as part of the Seat Reservation flow on iOS

A Seats and Extras flow selecting Seat Reservation on Android

The final overlay designs for Android

A Principle prototype showing the overlay as part of the Seat Reservation flow on Android