Here are random bits of information about how we are going about developing our solution.
We are using a user-centered design process to tackle this problem. This methodology calls for an extensive understanding of the people involved in this project (i.e. stakeholders: the transit authorities, the operators of the vehicles, the commuters and the non commuters) and the activites they perform. Our goal is to inform the design of our solution with the real needs of the stakeholders.
During our first phase of research, our team sought to cast a wide net to learn why people do or do not use public transit, and what the experience is like for them. We also believe it is important to learn the challenges transit operators face, so that our ultimate solution honors their constraints. We focused more on breadth than depth, and as we move towards defining the problems we need to address, this will shift to a focus on depth.
We primarily collected our initial data through semi-structured interviews of transit riders, people who choose not to ride transit, bus drivers, and operations managers. All told, we communicated with more than thirty people. In addition, sixteen people completed a survey based on our interview protocol. While the survey did not offer the same level of depth possible in an interview, it did allow us to significantly extend our data collection efforts.
Concurrent with the interviews, we completed a literature search. Public transit ridership is not a new problem in public policy and urban planning discussions, and lessons from this research will apply to our proposed solutions.
Our team then brought all of this data together in an affinity diagramming session, in which we worked to organize the data we had collected. During this session, we were excited to see that a number of themes discussed during interviews and in the survey were consistent with literature findings.
We are also constructing a series of photo stories for ourselves. These annotated stories help serve as a quick context reference, and will also help us generate personas and scenarios as we move forward.[top]
To better facilitate communication between team members, we have setup a Wiki to act as an evolving digital collection of our ideas and resources that are pertinent to the solving the problem. On the Wiki you will find our meeting notes, websites with information related to the problem and other tidbits that should give you an idea the team's current state of mind.
Apart from the Wiki, we have setup an email address for the group which can be used contact all the members of the group. In addition, we have setup and shared a calendar (via Google Calendar) to keep us abreast with events and deadlines related to the project.
The website serves as a more refined presentation, as compared to the Wiki, of our current status in solving the problem. As our solution generally revolves around providing an interactive option for navigating a public transit system, we decided to provide a more interactive way of viewing the timeline of our progress. Give it a shot.[top]