Tag Archives: public transport

Il problema del numero civico nelle app di navigazione

Quando progetto app e siti per la navigazione, cerco sempre di fare in modo che le ricerche degli utenti siano sempre veloci, efficienti e corrette.

Per esperienza, anche come utente finale, la ricerca dell’indirizzo è un momento molto critico nell’utilizzo di queste app per due motivi:

1) Errori di digitazione causati dai nomi delle strade che in alcune situazioni sono anche in lingue sconosciute. In Italia tra l’altro abbiamo l’ulteriore complessità legata alle variazioni dei nomi delle vie (viali, vicoli, corsi etc) e delle piazze (piazzale, largo etc).
2) L’inserimento del numero civico utilizzando la funzionalità del completamento automatico/suggerimenti

Ma mentre il punto 1 può essere risolto in autonomia dall’utente con un po’ di attenzione, il punto 2 mi fa davvero impazzire.

Di seguito è possibile vedere cosa succede quando cerco la via dello studio di massoterapia di mia moglie in “via Durini 15” sulle app di Uber e Here.

Quando seleziono l’indirizzo dai suggerimenti la ricerca viene brutalmente conclusa posizionando il mio pin-point in un punto standard che solitamente è il civico numero 1.
Ma se invece io stessi cercando il numero 299?
In questo caso sarò costretto a tornare indietro per modificare il testo rischiando di invalidarlo, oppure dovrò digitare nuovamente indirizzo e numero civico ignorando i suggerimenti.

Questo è il problema del numero civico nelle app di navigazione.

Nelle scorse settimane ho scoperto che Google Maps ha risolto il problema dei numeri civici in maniera semplice e geniale inserendo un bottone dedicato all’interno della tendina dei suggerimenti.
Nel video che segue un caso d’uso.

Questa soluzione è disponibile sia in casi di disambiguazione quando sono presenti diversi indirizzi, sia quando le lettere digitate sono sufficienti per identificare l’indirizzo corretto. Ecco le due casistiche.

Grazie al nuovo bottone dedicato al numero civico, adesso su Google Maps per cercare “Via Durini 15” mi basta seguire questa semplice procedura:

digitare “dur” > tappare su ” + add street number” > digitare “15” > tappare su invio > visualizzare la posizione esatta!

L’unico miglioramento che potrei suggerire a Google, dopo aver scelto di inserire il numero civico, è sostituire la tastiera completa con la tastiera numerica. Capisco che questo potrebbe causare dei problemi con i subalterni tipo 1/a, 1b etc, ma solitamente la distanza tra questi punti non è tale da causare posizionamenti errati.

Spero di poter riprodurre questa soluzione nei miei prossimi progetti anche se sono sicuro che a breve diventerà uno standard per tutte le app di navigazione. Questo forse ne diminuirà anche il costo di sviluppo, ma nel frattempo non mi resta che ringraziare Google per il suo lavoro.

The navigation apps street number problem

When I design navigation apps and sites I always think how to keep users researches fast, efficient and correct. In my experience, even as common user, the address research is a real complex phase for two main reasons:

1) Typing mistakes caused by complex street names, sometimes even in languages that users don’t know. In Italy for example, a part from the Italian language, we call streets and squares in different ways depending on their dimensions (street= via, viale, vicolo, corso etc; square= piazza, piazzale, largo etc)
2) Inserting the street number using the autocomplete/suggestions drop-down list

While regarding the point 1 I could imagine that a motivated user could type or paste the correct address, the point 2 drives me really crazy.

Watch below what happens on Uber and Here when I use the suggestions typing my wife’s massotherapy studio address in “via Durini, 15”.

When I tap on the suggested address the research phase ends brutally locating the pin point in a default position of the map that usually is the street number 1.
But what if I’m searching number 299?
I must go back modifying the text and risking to invalidate the address, or I must type again everything, street number included, ignoring the suggestions.

That’s the navigation apps street number problem.

In the last weeks I discovedered that Google Map solved the street number problem in a brilliant and simple way. They indeed created a dedicated button for the street number directly on the suggestions/autocomplete drop-down list. Watch the video below.

This solution is available both when the user must chose between a lot of similar addresses or when he/she already typed enough letters for having the correct address. Following the two examples.

Thank to the Google Map new street number button, now I can search “via Durini 15” following theese simple steps:

type “dur” > tap on “street number button” > type “15” > tap “enter” > see my perfect location on the map!

For improving this process I could only suggest to switch to the number keyboard when typing the street number. I know that sometimes, like at our home, street numbers are like 1/a, 1/b etc, but usually these subordinates are not as far to compensate the experience of seeing just numbers when you asked to type the street number.

I hope to use this kind of solution in my future projects, but I’m pretty sure that soon it will be adopted as an industry standard from all the navigation apps decresing the adoption cost.

In the meanwhile, thank you Google!

Self-driving bus service models and passengers User Experience

In the last months automotive world is talking a lot about autonomous and self-driving vehicles both for private and public transportation. During my day researches one day I found the exciting call for collaboration for Olli, the self-driving vehicle produced by Local Motors.

Designing the autonomous bus user experience is a complex task: for first because self-driving buses will serve the traditional public transportation diversified and multi-age target; second because without the driver and, in some cases, without a fixed route, passengers will have some new functional and informational needs.

The first part of my project started with a Service Design session focused on what kind of transportation services a self-driving bus can serve.

Personal on-demand shuttle

It’s like a Taxi/Uber, but less exclusive and more spacious. It brings one or more people from A to B. It can be reserved days in advance and can make various stops during a single dedicated service. The served area is restricted.

Shared on-demand shuttle

It’s like public transport service except for the fact that passengers can add a personalized stop to the route within the bus pertaining area. The route is dynamically optimized depending on users destinations and pick-up calls. The high level of complexity makes this service ideal for closed areas like small districts, big companies, entertainment parks etc.

Public Transport

It’s exactly the same public transport service as we know it.

Delivery service 

It’s like sending objects using a shipping company, but instead of giving the package to a human, users will schedule the shipment using an app or a dedicated device in the bus, and then they store the package in a secured housing inside the vehicle. The recipient will track the shipment in real-time and will be alerted when the bus is at the delivery point (or in front of his door). This service can be added to the “Shared on-demand shuttle” one, or it can be configured as an automated delivery service with customized buses and dedicated physical hubs.
This delivery service model is useful for companies that need to transport small parts within a relatively big space, or in modern cities creating a sort of fully automated shipping/delivery hubs for connecting wholesale shops and retails stores.

After this first Service Design session, I started a User Centered Analysis focused on the self-driving bus passengers needs. For designing a real accessible service, I defined only “analogue” needs excluding all the information/functions that a smartphone app could have. What you read is what my grandmother or a manager with a dead smartphone could need for using an autonomous bus.

What self-driving bus passengers need outside the bus

– Passengers need a purchase and reservation system that should be both digital (app), physical (street’s stops signs) and gestural (raising the hand for asking to catch the bus).

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