Planning Indian Railway (IRCTC) circular journey should be less of a hassle
Design an application for booking Indian Railways ‘Circular Journey’ tickets.
Indian Railways provides the facility of booking Circular Journey Tickets (for pilgrimage, sightseeing etc.). These tickets offer travel flexibility, as they are issued for all journeys (other than regular routes), which begin and complete at the same station. Circular journey tickets can be purchased for all classes of travel.
Circular Journey comprises the following: (Includes assumptions)
- There are fixed number of circular journey routes. That is a traveler cannot define their own routes, but have to choose one out of these fixed set of routes.
- If passengers do not wish to cover all the stations specified on the itinerary but like to perform journey by the direct and shorter route cutting short their journey time may choose to cut some stations from the itinerary, but this will not result in change in original circular route fare
- A maximum of eight break journeys will be admissible within the validity period of the ticket.
- The validity period of the ticket will be calculated as the sum of journey days and break journey days
- Journey days to be calculated at 1 day per 400 Kilometers distance or part thereof
- Break journey days to be calculated at 1 day per 200 Kilometers.
- Discover: Secondary Research data only (Links available at the end of page)
- Define: Assumptions and Hypothesis, Developing personas, Use cases & Scenarios
- Develop: Feature categorization, Information Architecture, Wireframing
- Deliver: High fidelity mockups (Kiosk, Mobile app, Website), Prototype, Guerilla testing, Feedback
Many forums and blogs catering information on IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) Circular tickets, states few major queries:
- How to book circular tickets? Presently, no way to book online.
- What are circular tickets? Majority of citizens are not even aware of it
- How much can we save as compared to regular tickets?
Information available on the form:
- Date of issue
- Type of circular ticket (Standard, Non-standard)
- Station name (Starting station — destination)
- Train name, number
- Journey Date
- No. of passengers
- Passenger names, Age, class type
- Date (from, to)
- Nature of concession
- Issuing authority
- Fare, Reservation charges, Total amount
- Name, Sign of Station Manager
- Date of arrival
Type of circular journeys:
- Standard circular journey tickets are pre-decided routes, and if any of these itineraries appeal to you, you can apply for one and save out on time.
- Non-standard circular journey tickets
Demographics: 52yrs, lives in Thane (Maharastra), works in public sector, earns ~Rs40k/month
Behaviour: Old style, comfort matters more, travelling with family, worried about pricing, looking for group discounts. Only a bit aware of mobile apps though owns a smart phone. Prefer to use desktop for majority of online activities
Needs and Goals: Wants to travel with family for a month, Needs to book tickets for all routes, Needs to customise the journey according to the plan
Job Story 1 —
Demographics: 25yrs, lives in New Delhi, works in IT firm, loves photography and travelling
Behaviour: Tech savvy, traveller, efficiency matters. Travels with a couple of his other photography friends. Wish to visit all major worth seeing places in India.
Needs and Goals: Don’t want to visit railway station to book tickets, Wants to make plan on phone (when at home) and continue making the plan on website (while working on laptop)
Job Story 2 —
From Job Story 1, it is clear that Anoop wishes to book ticket by visiting nearby railway station. In order to avoid the long queue to book tickets, he can readily access a kiosk to browse through the whole itinerary and eventually, even book the ticket. The ticket details should later be easily accessed from his/partner-traveler’s email or phone.
Job Story 2 — Vaibhav, being a tech savvy guy, wants to plan and customize his trip on his smart phone. But as he frequently toggles between his laptop and phone, the need to built web and mobile support becomes primary. Vaibhav can log in into his account on any of his device anytime. He can share the details of journey with his travel mates who can also customize the plan if Vaibhav adds them as contributors.
- Route selection
- Train selection
- Class selection
- Break selection
- Ticket availability per leg of journey
- Itinerary tweaking to ensure validity
Information Gathering — based on info available on circular tickets form, forums and Job stories)
Watch guide video, Change language (Hindi/English/Bengali), Search journey/station, Date (from, to), No. of passengers, Starting point, Add other stations, Passenger names, Age, class/berth, Specific routes, Refundable/Non-refundable, Choose break journey stations, Discount, Reservation, Concession, Assistance/Insurance, Total Amount (Price + Reservation charges), Extra charges (Reservation + Supplementary for super-fast), Fare rules (Cancellation, Refund policy), Sign in to use Wallet
Feature prioritization (Kano model) not shown in the blog
Home page — Circular route can easily be searched by station name, station codes, train number, search history, user location, and even nearby worth seeing places to a particular circular route.
In order to reduce the need to search by typing, basic categorization into all three circular routes (Northern, Southern and Central) can be accessed from the home page.
Deliver (Prototype & Test)
- Easy-to-use minimal interface design
- Maintaining IRCTC brand colors
- Language change from Home page itself
- Back to IRCTC home page can be accessed from Menu
- SST Typeface designed for maintaining brand across platforms
- Brand Experience maintained on all platforms — mobile, Web, Kiosk
- Easy-to-visualize map interface to determine the exact route
- All major payment methods linked including cash payment which can be done while on-boarding
- Easy to edit functionalities after booking — Change class, edit route, book nearby hotels, cancel booking
Guerrilla Testing of Mobile app — (5 users)
- All users could easily reach to the final (booking) stage
- 4 out of 5 were able to recognize ‘Customization of stations’ and use it.
- 2/5 users were able to recognize and use “Break Journey” feature in full Map view. (Will be sharing the redesign of this feature in the next post)
Generally, users were pretty excited to see and use circular journey planner prototype app for IRCTC.