A new way to experience the German railway
The goal of this project was to create a more intuitive experience for the Deutsche Bahn Navigator app
The German railway company
Deutsche Bahn has long reign as the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europe, operates not just locally in Germany, but also in several other countries in Europe. Creating a better travel experience is one of the forefront mission of Deutsche Bahn, hence they created the DB Navigator app for their customer. Each day, more than 4.000.000 users use the DB Navigator app for their daily travel necessity.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Deutsche Bahn, just an avid DB user that want to find a better design solution.
The DB Navigator app is powerful, has a lot of function, some of them are very useful for passengers. However users feel that the app experience is not very intuitive and redundant in some places. There is a lack of sense accessibility and for new users, the app seems rather intimidating & complicated.
"Leider ist die App immer noch nicht sehr intuitiv zu bedienen. Das Menü am rechten Rand gefällt mir nicht besonders. Aber von den Funktionen hat die App alles was man sich wünschen kann."
"Unfortunately, the app is still not very intuitive to use. I especially do not like the menu on the right corner. But in terms of functions, the app has everything I could wish for."
— from Apple App Store
Based on user reviews from Apple App store and several interviews with daily users, I try to identify several pain-points that occur during the experience.
The pain points.
All the features hidden in the right menu
Not easy to access tickets
Regional offers are too many taps away
There is no menu bar
Bahncard section feels like a web-page inside of an app
There are too many feature without any clear sections.
Going further through the research, I identified 4 personas which have different needs and different goals. This data will be useful to improve the user experience for each one of them.
To understand more about the app structure, I create a rough rendition of the DB Navigator information architecture.
Most of the core functions are not easily accessible because it was all placed inside the hamburger menu, where it is easily overlooked by new users. Thus I proposed a new information architecture design for the app, with a simpler and more intuitive arrangement of the functions.
The next step is to redesign the interface. I started with pencil & paper, develop several paper prototypes before moving on to high fidelity wireframe.
Let’s start with the solutions
The new trip planner
The planner is the key feature of the app, where users spend their time the most. I decided to revisit the user interface in order to create a stronger branding with the DB Logo and overall usability.
Icons are your best friend
Some stations and street names have similar names. Hence, there is a need to differentiate it. I added icons and type of the station below the name to create better clarity for the search results.
Better ticketing experience
The mobile ticket function is now easily accessible in the menu bar. Both the active ticket & ticket shop function are merged into this tab. Tickets are colour-coded based on the transport organizations and easy to access for checks in the train.
The new Ticket Shop features regional tickets, local transport tickets and whole land tickets, now all easily accessible in the menu bar.
Personalized User Profile
The new profile section features user profile, BahnBonus points, and their DB BahnCard. Easy access creates more incentive for the user to use the BahnCard & BahnBonus features.
Personal guide to get around the station
Get up-to-date with station departures, arrivals or delays, search for bakeries and coffee shops, find the way to the next train platform.
Settings & More
Other functions such as settings & support are arranged neatly in the more section.
The new DB Navigator App flow, more user-friendly and easy to access the app core functions.
Due to time constraints, the research is limited to a smaller user audience and a small amount of data. More extensive research and additional prototype testing need to be conducted in order to refine the design solutions. Thank you for reading through this case study. If you have any feedback, I’d like to hear from you.