From Journalism To Tech: How I Designed An E-ticketing App For Nigeria’s New Train Station
My desire to solve life problems with tech pushed me from journalism into UX\UI design and my first mission was to design an e-ticketing app christened TRAINWISE that allows Nigerians to book for (Abuja-Kaduna ) Standard Gauge Trains, using their mobile phones.
TRAINWISE is the first app of its kind designed to help Train users nationwide skip the hurdles of long queues and obtaining tickets through their phones. I’m however looking forward to seeing the country’s Ministry of Transport adopt it for usage. This will help to automate Train booking and make the whole process more transparent.
All that is required by the App’s users is to simply book for Train at home or anywhere with their phones and upon reaching the station, they can flash the purchased tickets on their mobile phones for QR code scanning and they are good to go.
Of course, i didn’t just dive into this field by accident. One thing actually led to another for me to consider giving software and Apps design a shot. I was introduced by a friend, Micheal Ajah to Precious Chukwundah, a Porthacourt based tech CEO of CHIGISOFT whom I joined his one-month UXUI design Bootcamp in August.
The Bootcamp grill was a one-hell-of-stressful, but fascinating experience. I recount spending nights in front of my PC to practice and finish up my assignments, just because I don’t wanna be left behind. Luckily enough, i seized the opportunity of the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria to take some time off journalism and concentrate on the design class.
We started the exercise with Precious Chukwundah( Instructor) and the same Micheal Ajah (Instructor), teaching us the basics of product design. Precious Chukwundah subsequently introduced us to 2 assistants named; Ayoleyi Lurogho and Ebadan Sotonye who served as guides whenever we needed a quick help.
The four of them made my journey a seamless one and we were loaded with all the arsenals required to erupt the UX/UI market in a short period of time.
Having completed the Bootcamp, we were all asked to identify problems that can be solved with an app within our vicinity and then make a design for them.
I followed all the design processes and stages we were taught to come up with an easy to use e-ticketing app for the standard gauge train stations in the country since non is available at the moment and train passengers usually relished booking tickets with their phones.
I must say my journalism experience helped a lot too in identifying the pain points of the train passengers and tailoring my design towards meeting all their needs.
Although, even as I’m yet to completely perfect my skills, I focused more on functions, usability(User Experience) than the aesthetic looks(User Interface) of the app because my goal was to solve the train users’ problem.
PROBLEM STATEMENT/ FUNCTIONS OF TRAINWISE
The app targets the first Train station which was commissioned in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, that shuttles from Abuja (Iddu and Kubwa Terminals) to Kaduna (Jere and Rigasa terminals). Every day, Trains embarks on four trips shuttling to and fro Kaduna and Abuja — at 6:40 am, 10:35 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm — with the exception of Sunday which has only two trips.
However, the objective of the train to serve the masses is truncated as most train users have continued to complain bitterly of difficulties they encountered while booking tickets from the train station. They are often faced with the challenges of ticket racketeering, whereby tickets are sold to the highest bidder; queuing for long before obtaining a ticket; over ticketing by train station attendants which usually left some passengers on board stranded and standing inside moving train and discrimination by the attendants at times.
Train users want an easy, quick process of obtaining tickets without getting exhausted. The Trainwise App will enable train users to purchase tickets online through their mobile phones with access to networks (without the need to face all the hassles mentioned above.)
The train users have yearned for a seamless ticket purchase experience, suggesting that they get verified and profiled. Therefore, Trainwise app will create an avenue for its users to create an account and also make deposits in their Trainwise wallet for payments, without them having to consult their financial institutions every time.
The app will bring sanity to means of getting tickets, as it will avail only the users to make purchases themselves, and they will no longer have to pay double the fixed-rate or tip anyone off before buying tickets once they make online purchases.
Moreso, purchases will be flexible and easier as this app will provide the option of choosing to go on a single trip or round trip since they hate queuing severally.
TRAINWISE will also eliminate discrimination against buyers of the ticket since they can buy at the comfort of their home or anywhere without a query from attendants wanting to scrutinize them. The passengers also complained about train officials overloading the train coaches, where people who paid for a seat eventually stand inside the train till they reach their destination. The app will solve the problem of over-ticketing by displaying the number of seats available before a passenger makes a purchase decision and it will suggest you wait for the next train if interested.
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