Improving customer experience for all users regarding given traffic information at railway stations
Paper i proceeding, 2019
Introduction and research focus
In 2018 a user behavioral research study was conducted in Sweden on "Spoken Information at Railway Stations" including results from questionnaires from about 400 people in various ages and types of impairment. The results showed a number of improvement ideas to enhance customer experience regarding the traffic information given to provide efficiency, safety and satisfaction for travelers. The need for an attention signal that new information is available emerged as one important point of improvement as well as a revision of the content of the spoken information message, which sometimes was perceived as inadequate and contradicting. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether and how a visual and/or audible attention signal should be designed to improve the customer experience of the Swedish Transport Administration's delivery of important information at railway stations, especially for people in the user groups hearing impaired, visually impaired and elderly. Furthermore, a review was performed of how the content of the given spoken information could be presented to be more precise and not perceived as contradicting, especially during disturbances.
A further analysis of the information found in the 400 questionnaires used in the previous study was made regarding the users’ opinions of what they missed and needed regarding the traffic information. Then a number of design proposals, also based on appropriate design guidelines, were created of visual and audible signals. Also, some of the today existing audible information messages were rephrased. In the evaluation phase, first expert evaluations were made with six human factors experts. Then user tests, both in the usability laboratory and at railway stations were performed. In total 30 people were included in the laboratory tests and 60 people in the real-world environment at railway stations. The test subjects were in different ages and some were also visually and audible impaired.
The results showed that especially an audible attention signal needs to be developed to maximize travellers’ attention and alertness for new updated important traffic information. This could be achieved by using an distinct sound that is unique and perceived as much important to notice. It should however not be masked by the background noise. Regarding the spoken information during disturbances, the amount of given information should be decreased and shorter more precise and correct announcements should be given, where only relevant information is provided. This, along with a fine-tuning of the timing of when spoken announcements are given in relation to train departure, resulted in that the given information were perceived as more reliable and up to date. A consequence of this is that fewer announcements are made, which in turn reduces the experience of the announcements as ambiguous and their credibility increases. To conclude, this study shows that the need of a better attention signal and improvements of the messages’ content are much appreciated by the customers.
design for all