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User Experience (UX) Testing

Any CX program is incomplete without User Experience (UX) Testing of products.

  • Are you preparing for your next order of new buses or trains? (Or renovating old ones?)

  • Planning a new website? New apps?

  • Designing new signage?

  • Buying new ticket vending machines?

  • Installing new bus stop shelters?

  • Developing new internal administrative systems?

Today's consumers experience unprecedented convenience - purchasing products and services at the click of a mouse and having them show up right on time. This sets a high bar for public transit. In this context, how will you ensure that your new product makes a good first impression (and avoid expensive fixes down the road)?


The answer is UX Testing to surface issues early and fix them during the design process. This requires mockups, prototypes, beta products, and sometimes simulations that transit riders can experience. Be sure to recruit random and representative riders to participate in the UX Testing and provide detailed feedback. Transit staff can administer UX testing or it can be outsourced to any of the many research firms that specialize in UX Testing.

Bus seating UX test at Translink in Vancouver
UX test at Translink in Vancouver

Transit agencies should adopt policies that set minimum thresholds for UX ratings before allowing products to launch. And they should recognize the highest rated products with a Seal of Excellence. This incentivizes staff to listen carefully to customers and go the extra mile to incorporate their input into product design.

LA Metro Seal of Excellence (draft)
LA Metro Seal of Excellence (draft)

A few tips if you are just getting started with UX Testing:

  • UX Testing takes time, and it is important to build that extra time into contract schedules. It may add several months to do UX Testing and fix the issues that surface. On the other hand, this can save time and money on the back end by avoiding costs for rework after the product launches.

  • It's also important to incorporate the cost of mockups or prototypes into project budgets and contract scopes.

  • Active listening and response are essential. All customer feedback should be logged in a comment/response format, and the design team should carefully consider every comment, push themselves to refine the design if at all possible, and log a response to every issue.

  • For products that do not have adequate user-acceptance, establish Product Recovery Teams to address customer issues and refine the products to meet the threshold.

BART Fleet of the Future UX Testing with a wooden mockup
BART Fleet of the Future UX Testing with a wooden mockup

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