Understanding public transportation can be a difficult experience – a lot of data exists in disparate places on the internet, and there are plenty of apps trying to find a place on your phone. In the midst of it all, of course, there is the option of simply using Google Maps to find the right time and the right route to get to your destination.
Then there’s Moovit, a transit tracking app that’s been trying to find a place on the home screens of phone owners since its launch in 2011. The company claims to have 45 million users, and with a new update to how the app looks and feels today, he hopes he can not only retain those users, but attract new ones, especially when he moves to new countries.
âOne thing I learned, at the end of the day, if you don’t really solve a real problem and a big problem, there is a great risk that users will just download the app because the experience might be enjoyable. and maybe win design awards, but that doesn’t stick because it doesn’t provide users with continued value, “said Vice President of Product Yovav Meydad.” Public transport is relevant to billions of people in the world and the size of the market is enormous. â
The app was basically split into three different parts of the experience that ended up on a new navigation bar at the bottom: planning a trip, finding stations, and following trip lines. Each of these more or less represents a specific mode of travel for a user throughout the day using public transport, Meydad said. The company also added new features to correct existing information if it is changed, as well as new data, he said.
The design changes have gone so far as to try to simulate what users might see or feel on the street, whether it be specific colors, designs or logos or things in that sense. Other apps like Transit are trying to do something similar, and the process is to convince users that the app is essentially an extension of the standard commuting experience, Meydad said.
âFor an app like ours, providing users with an experience similar to what they see in real life is what is most important,â said Meydad.
Many apps will rely on publicly available data – like the kind of information NextBus publishes in San Francisco – and, of course, Moovit does the same. But it also relies heavily on crowdsourced data, such as determining updated bus stops under construction or updating photos. This is to ensure that users have the best possible estimates for arrival time and transit to where they are trying to go.
The app also went through a series of iterations before launching. Meydad basically got his team to create individual versions that would maximize every part of the experience before finding all the good data and combining it all into one main application that would convince users to engage in it in several different ways, a- he declared.
âImagine an app that had only one screen, no taps, direction lines and stations – think of it as Moovit for Dummies, or something like an integration,â Meydad said. âIt was a little radically different in its design, in the end it didn’t work because we showed that the engagement rates in this design weren’t as high. This eliminated a lot of alternative designs based not only on our own sentiment, but on tens of thousands of users over a four month period, ultimately choosing which ones worked best.
Granted, Moovit isn’t a new entry to keep commuters informed. The app, which debuted in Israel, has 45 million users and recently raised $ 50 million in funding. It has spread to dozens of countries and continues to locate in new ones, which involves figuring out how to import all the appropriate transit information and sort it based on where you are in the world.
While the experience has been streamlined, it will still face a lot of competition, both from Citymapper and newer entrances like Transit. Moovit is trying to present itself as some kind of Waze-like experiment relying on crowdsourced data, but it will have to do two things to achieve that: get people to use the app and get them to contribute data.
And of course, it is still possible to simply enter your destination with Google Maps. But for Moovit – and other apps – the goal is not only to help plan trips, but also simply to keep users informed of the basic information they already need. Users may just need an arrival time because they know where they are trying to go. Meydad’s hope is that by distilling the service into a few key experiences and making them easily accessible, Moovit will provide a kind of differentiated Google Maps experience that deserves a completely separate app.