Innovating Live Navigation based on Mobimeo’s approach for user-centric product development

July 7, 2021
3 min
Die Corona-Pandemie hat sich auf fast alle Bereiche des öffentlichen und privaten Lebens ausgewirkt. Auch mit Blick auf die Mobilität hat die Krise für noch nie da gewesene Verhältnisse gesorgt und Entwicklungen beschleunigt, die sich sonst wahrscheinlich erst in einigen Jahren realisiert hätten. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) kann eine Lösung für Mobilitätsanbieter sein, um mit den Folgen der Pandemie umzugehen.
How is user-centricity put into practice? At Mobimeo, we are shaping the future of urban mobility with products built for people’s needs, based on research and insights. We understand that it requires continuous evaluation for user-centric product development to become more than a buzzword and to effectively bring about changes in mobility behaviour. As part of a series of blog posts, this article depicts how we practice the continuous evaluation of user needs at Mobimeo to create real user value through our products and change how cities move.
Author: Sophie Weckemann

Why we develop Live Navigation

Mobimeo launched the Com­pan­ion, a Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture for jour­neys with pub­lic trans­port, in Berlin’s BVG Fahrin­fo app which accom­pa­nies users reli­ably to their des­ti­na­tion. The Com­pan­ion knows the best con­nec­tion for users to take and noti­fies them about dis­rup­tions that occur on the jour­ney. In the event of unex­pect­ed inter­rup­tions, it sug­gests the best alter­na­tives and gets users to their des­ti­na­tion quick­ly and with peace of mind.

Pri­or to the roll-out of the fea­ture at large scale, it was test­ed with a group of beta users to assure the high­est qual­i­ty stan­dards. After the roll-out, users were able to pro­vide feed­back through an in-app sur­vey so we could con­tin­u­ous­ly eval­u­ate the expe­ri­ence pro­vid­ed with the Companion.

Both through the beta test and the in-app sur­vey, feed­back was col­lect­ed that exposed a user need to fur­ther address with the fea­ture: Close guid­ance for walk­ing parts to and from sta­tions as well as inside and around stations.

More­over, the Prod­uct and Design teams want­ed to explore user needs relat­ed to oth­er pos­si­ble use cas­es for the Com­pan­ion to find more ways to guide users in the best and most sus­tain­able way possible.


How we proceed to innovate Live Navigation

User-cen­tric prod­uct devel­op­ment doesn’t mean imple­ment­ing what­ev­er a user asks for, it means dig­ging deep and inves­ti­gat­ing the needs beneath a user’s request.

To pro­vide users with the best pos­si­ble nav­i­ga­tion expe­ri­ence, we want­ed to holis­ti­cal­ly explore how peo­ple nav­i­gate when they trav­el on unfa­mil­iar routes. We want­ed to learn which strate­gies they use, which infor­ma­tion they look for, what their needs and chal­lenges are and which kind of guid­ance could help them get to their des­ti­na­tion with even less effort.

The user research team (UX Research) at Mobimeo applied these ques­tions to sev­er­al use cas­es relat­ed to trav­el­ling with pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing, and using micro-mobil­i­ty, name­ly bicy­cle and kick-scoot­er shar­ing. To address the ques­tions, we decid­ed to run both explorato­ry inter­views and test a pro­to­type of a new iter­a­tion of the Com­pan­ion feature.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics of our research sample

What is most important for Live Navigation in public transport

In the inter­views we dis­cov­ered that users reg­u­lar­ly encounter issues on cer­tain steps of their itin­er­aries, espe­cial­ly when nav­i­gat­ing on an unfa­mil­iar route in their city. They are faced with the chal­lenge of stay­ing ori­ent­ed when trav­el­ing with pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing, rid­ing a bike or a kick-scoot­er, even if they make use of nav­i­ga­tion apps.

Thus, not get­ting lost is an impor­tant need. Users try to avoid it by plan­ning ahead and mak­ing a great effort to gain and repeat­ed­ly regain ori­en­ta­tion while traveling.

Peo­ple make use of com­plex strate­gies to find their ways. They con­tin­u­ous­ly process con­tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion, make uncon­scious pri­or­i­ti­za­tions and deci­sions and mul­ti­task heav­i­ly while mov­ing along their jour­ney. Envi­ron­men­tal cues such as land­marks are used to deter­mine the right direc­tion along­side oth­er fac­tors like geo­graph­ic knowl­edge, pri­or expe­ri­ences and social cues, i.e. which direc­tions oth­er peo­ple are taking.

Var­i­ous nav­i­ga­tion apps are used as an aux­il­iary means to find and inter­pret con­tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion. How­ev­er, in their cur­rent scope of func­tion­al­i­ty they do not ful­ly meet the needs of users on the go in cities. Users require a high lev­el of data accu­ra­cy and reli­a­bil­i­ty in the way they are guid­ed. What is also impor­tant, in many cas­es guid­ance is insuf­fi­cient­ly spec­i­fied for com­mon use cas­es of every day travel.

Giv­en the com­plex­i­ty of the task that users have to per­form, the pro­to­type test of the Com­pan­ion fea­ture revealed how its design needs to pro­vide a mul­ti­tude of infor­ma­tion in a high­ly struc­tured and syn­chro­nized, yet intu­itive and rad­i­cal­ly sim­ple manner.


User-centricity is key for product development at Mobimeo

It is only pos­si­ble to offer tru­ly user-cen­tric prod­ucts when the needs of users are close­ly eval­u­at­ed and ful­ly tak­en into account. At Mobimeo, we care about under­stand­ing which prob­lems our users encounter on their urban jour­neys so we can evolve our prod­ucts and cre­ate val­ue for them. Lever­ag­ing research con­duct­ed for Live Nav­i­ga­tion, we can iter­ate and improve the fea­ture to bring it to the next lev­el. Hence, we can deliv­er on the vision we set: To accom­pa­ny users reli­ably in sit­u­a­tions in which they need it and to make mov­ing through cities with sus­tain­able modes of trans­porta­tion easier.


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