One of the main UX challenges we have at Rome2rio is explaining the concept of multi-modal, door-to-door search and route- planning to new visitors. Many independent travellers are familiar with the idea of searching from station to station or airport to airport. However, being able to plan an entire door to door trip comprised of a combination of air, bus, train, ferry and walk options is harder to explain visually.
Within this in mind, in February 2017 we ran an experiment to change one of the elements that our user interacted with most- the main results in our route options list. It’s on this list that we show visitors the different options they can take to get from their chosen origin to their destination.
Where we started
In our previous design, we showed modes of transport in coloured circles next to the trip option.
In an option such as Fly Seoul Gimpo to Busan, we would only show the flight – the main part of the trip. However, what the user doesn’t see is additional 36-minute long train and taxi journey for getting to and from the airport. While omitting this information makes it easier to compare the major portion of travel in each option, the detail that explains the complexity of the journey is lost. We have also adding estimated transit wait times at airports as well as airport shuttle options to show a truer cost and duration of the trip.
Another example of this visual simplification can be seen in the bus option as well; in this image we don’t show that the bus route is actually comprised of 3 connections.
Where we ended up
On February 14th, 2017 and after a 1-week split test experiment, we released a new version of the Rome2rio results list.
The modes of transport were now all visible to our visitors and easily allowed them to compare not just duration and price but also the complexity of a given option for their search. A happy side effect of this work has been the improvement in our ability to explain the concept of Rome2rio to new visitors in a clear and comprehensive way. The arrows also provide an element of directionality that the previous design lacked, so the sequence of a journey is much more obvious.
We’ve also added another feature; journeys that include walks at the beginning and end now have walk times listed next to them. This is especially handy for travellers commuting with luggage and wanting to minimise walk times – or for travellers who are looking for a scenic route as they explore their new surroundings.
In the future, we’re planning on refining the design to introduce some separation between the major and minor travel modes of a journey. Currently, we’re finding that flight’s sometimes get lost in the mix between taxi, bus and train transfers.
What do you think of the new designs? Have any suggestions or questions? Let us know in the comments.