Improving the ticket booking experience for IRCTC Indian railway users.

Let me guide you through the journey of redesigning Explore, experience on IRCTC that facilitates users in booking their journeys swiftly and efficiently.

About the IRCTC

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) stands as a cornerstone in the country's transportation sector, handling millions of train reservations daily. Despite its significance, the existing user experience on the IRCTC website has been a source of frustration for many. Recognizing the need for change, the decision was made to overhaul the current website.

Duration
5 weeks, January–March 2019
Role
UX Design, UI Icon Design, Wireframing, User Research

Vision for Revision

Reflecting on my own experience of booking train tickets, being a tech savvy I faced to many challenges then I realized that the design could be more user-friendly, especially for those less tech-savvy. So being a designer I decided to revamp the current IRCTC Website.

“About 52% of people use other ways to book their journey because of poor user experience and complexity of UI, according to the customer service training center”

The Website increases the cognitive load and makes it difficult to execute a simple task without being interrupted. Because of this, I have decide improve website experience, To make it simpler for users to book available services without any hesitation.

Introduction

The journey commenced by acknowledging the widespread user frustration during the online booking process. The redesign project aimed to transform train reservations into a seamless experience, focusing on efficiency, accessibility, and a touch of personalization.The typical journey of a user who wants to search train and book their journey with finding the right train, with the right accommodation within their budget.

Understanding the problem Space

Online Booking Trends:

Over 65% of reservations are conducted through external websites and apps, signaling a need for optimization on the official IRCTC platform.

Growing Customer Base:

IRCTC has a substantial and continually growing online customer base, emphasizing the need for a user-friendly digital platform.

Technology Demand:

The contemporary need for technology and modernization highlighted the significance of an updated and efficient IRCTC platform.

Vital Lifeline, Unfriendly Experience:

Despite the railway's role as a national transport lifeline, the user experience on the current IRCTC platform is marked by unfriendliness.

Patience-Testing Access:

Accessing the product requires patience due to frequent disruptions and a cumbersome sign-in process.

“How might we streamline the booking process on IRCTC to enhance user experience, ensuring a smoother access?”

Key Business Metrics for Redesign

Booking Process Efficiency:

Reduce the average time taken by users to complete the booking process.

Platform Preference:

Increase the percentage of users opting for the official IRCTC platform.

Customer Retention:

Decrease the bounce rate and increase returning users.

Brand Loyalty:

Enhance positive sentiment and brand loyalty.

The solution

In response to user challenges, the proposed redesign focuses on optimizing the booking experience, improving accessibility, and fostering user loyalty. The solution aims to streamline the process, eliminate hassles, and enhance the overall appeal of the IRCTC website.

Intuitive Booking Interface:

The journey toward a more user-friendly IRCTC began with the implementation of a seamless and intuitive booking interface. This reduction in complexity ensures a seamless experience for users.

Intuitive Navigation:

The redesign prioritized intuitive navigation, simplifying the user journey and creating a more user-friendly experience, especially for those navigating through various external platforms.

Expanding Online Customer Base:

By providing a seamless and user-friendly digital platform, the redesign seeks to enhance the user base, aligning with the growing demand for modernization in the contemporary era.

Challenges in Accessibility:

Efforts were made to minimize disruptions and simplify the sign-in process, ensuring accessing the IRCTC platform becomes a smoother and more user-friendly experience.

Design process and challenges

The IRCTC redesign aimed to revolutionize the user experience by addressing issues such as complex navigation, language inclusivity, and information overload. Streamlining processes, improving accessibility, and fostering brand loyalty were key focuses, ensuring a seamless and user-friendly platform for train reservations.

Homepage

The older version faced significant challenges, including dual navigation bars, language inclusivity issues, contrast problems, and a complex microsite structure. The redesign aimed to transform these hurdles into opportunities by streamlining navigation, offering language preferences, improving contrast, and simplifying microsite navigation.

The older version faced significant challenges, including dual navigation bars, language inclusivity issues, contrast problems, and a complex microsite structure. The redesign aimed to transform these hurdles into opportunities by streamlining navigation, offering better experience, improving contrast, and simplifying microsite navigation.

Search train

The search train page was overhauled to address issues such as inappropriate icon sizes, lack of feature explanations, information overload, absence of alternate train suggestions, disruptive ad placement, and the need for a multi-destination booking system. The redesign focuses on improving user experience with optimized icons, clear explanations, streamlined information, alternate suggestions, improved ad placement, and a new multi-destination booking feature.

Addressing inappropriate icon sizes, lack of explanations, information overload, and disruptive ads on the search train page, the redesign introduced optimized icons, clear explanations, streamlined information, alternate train suggestions, improved ad placement, and a multi-destination booking feature.

If there is no direct train available

Recognizing the challenge when no direct train is available for a user's selected location, a suggestion page was introduced. This dedicated page provides users with the best possible alternatives to continue their journey, allowing them to select a suitable train and ensuring a seamless travel experience even in the absence of a direct connection.

Passenger Details

The passenger details page currently faces challenges, including unclear seat information, lack of transparency in fare calculation, and confusion due to repetitive information. Issues like small fonts in wrong form layouts affect user focus, while content overload makes navigation challenging. The touch target for the "continue" call-to-action needs re-evaluation for better accessibility. Addressing these concerns aims to improve the overall usability and clarity of the passenger details page.

The passenger details page faced challenges like unclear seat information, lack of fare transparency, and confusion due to repetitive information. Solutions included a feature enabling the saving of details for frequent travelers, a dropdown for comprehensive fare details, an option to board from a different location, and the ability to purchase a rail pass.

A Visual Way to Select Your Seat

A popup window option was introduced for visually selecting seats, enhancing the seat selection process with an intuitive and interactive approach.

Payment

The payment page currently confronts challenges such as a cluttered UI that struggles to strike the right balance between aesthetics and functionality. There is a lack of clarity regarding industry abbreviations, and incorporating a more friendly tone would enhance user understanding. Additionally, the limited payment options need expansion, and there is a missed opportunity in not prioritizing UPI, a government initiative, as the first payment option. Addressing these issues aims to create a more user-friendly, transparent, and accessible payment experience.

For the payment page, I introduced a cleaner and modern UI solution, expanding the payment options to provide users with multiple choices. Notably, I prioritized UPI as the first payment option, aligning with the promotion of this government initiative. In the redesigned version, I enhanced transparency by making travel insurance details visible and allowing users to decide whether to opt for it or not. These changes aim to create a more user-friendly, transparent, and flexible payment experience.

Confirmation

In addition, I crafted a confirmation page for users to easily view and download their tickets. This page also offers convenient options for users to opt for additional services, including booking a hotel, taxi, helper for station assistance, waiting lounge, wheelchair for physically disabled travelers, and ordering food. This comprehensive confirmation page aims to enhance the overall user experience by providing one-stop access to essential travel-related services.

Conclusion

This case study marks the initiation of a larger design process. The next crucial step involves conducting usability testing and iterating based on new insights and emerging themes. Continuous refinement aims to create a more user-centric and effective platform, aligning seamlessly with user needs and expectations. This iterative approach lays the foundation for an optimized and user-friendly solution, ensuring the story of IRCTC's transformation continues with each user journey.

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