Building the MVP for a Bus Management Platform for BusRight
Bus transportation can run at many inefficiencies, especially within school districts. BusRight is the only bus fleet manager that has integrated technology to optimize routes and track student ridership for parents, school administrators and drivers, who want a more efficient bus system in the era of increasing student safety.
Within only 10 weeks, our team of 5 was responsible for designing and developing a responsive bus fleet management platform in an agile environment. As a result, BusRight received $100K in funding from Dick Schulze (founder of Best Buy), Google and Underscore VC, and was selected as a top 10 university startup in Boston to participate in the UFirst Summer Accelerator.
Find out more on how BusRight has evovled here.
I was the lead designer on the team, tasked with designing a responsive platform to manage bus fleets. I collaborated with 2 engineers and guided our research and ideation phase, along with user testing and final visual quality assurance. I also created the logomark for BusRight!
The BusRight Platform
School Administrators lack extensive information on bus fleets within a district; unaware of the number of buses, routes and drivers assigned, leading to a dilution of information and student safety.
A platform that gives District and School Administrators a clear indication of all buses assigned to a district, the different routes per bus, and the driver assigned to each route.
Research and Discovery
Our research began by conducting primary and secondary research. Our primary research consisted of in-depth interviews with school administrators in the greater New York district to understand their pain-points and the underlying need for this platform.
Some questions we asked were:
• What is the most frustrating part of keeping track of bus fleets?
• How is your student data currently stored?
• How comfortable are you learning and managing a brand new platform?
• What features/ characteristics would incentivize you to use a bus fleet manager platform?
Our secondary research was focused on potential competitors, finding current solutions that already exist and understanding key points of differentiation. The synthesis of the primary and secondary research gave rise to user personas:
Working with a start-up, we hit many pivots! There were three big challenges:
1. End-user difficulties: Not being able to actively view and navigate through a school administrators current platform, which would allow us to empathize more with their pain points providing room to grow from current existing solutions. To combat this, we had multiple interviews and conversations with school admins by testing our product out and iterating through constructive feedback.
2. Working within constraints: initially the MVP was to be able to track live feed of each Bus en route, but due to restrictions within our back-end/ API, we had to reduce the data stored within each district / school.
3. Communication difficulties: having very little knowledge of the back-end development and API of our product, which led to not having the right information on the extensiveness of project. This led to multiple back and forth with the BusRight tech team located in Pennsylvania.
1. One Stop Platform
Need for a one stop platform that has relevant information of buses within a district, drivers assigned, times, route and duration.
2. Ease of Access
A straight forward onboarding process to upload routes and assign drivers, an action-oriented dashboard where all functions are accessible.
3. Actionable Items
Urgent information must be displayed immediately with the option of taking action without multiple steps.
Wireframes and User Journeys
The platform consisted of two views: the District Admin view and the School Admin view. The district administrator is able to upload routes, assign school buses and drivers to routes and give school admins access to view routes. The School Admin view allows school administrators to view the different routes, assigned buses and drivers.
Adding Visual Design
The user interface developed simultaneously as we iterated our wireframes based on feedback. We opted for a clean, modern UI that reflected BusRights newly established brand. In order to keep design consistent through all screens and easily convert our designs to our developers, I created a component guide that summarized all buttons, cards and icons with their respective statuses (selected, hover, unselected).
Designing for Accessibility
When choosing our color palette, we were mindful of accessibility for color blindness. We used the sketch plug-in stark to determine an accessible color palette for our user interface.
User Testing and Iterating
Once we narrowed down our color palette and UI components, we tested the first round of hi-fidelity wireframes with District Administrators in New York. We recieved positive feedback on our straight-forward on-boarding process and accessible dashboard. However, we got the bus schedules wrong, and intead of allocating certain times, we decided to include times: AM, PM, and LATE. Through further feedback we constantly iterated until all screens had a consistent flow of design, elements and components.
ROUTES & DRIVERS
Optimizing for Screen Types
As we built our product for BusRight, we took into account accessibility within different screen sizes. BusRight is a fully responsive application, with all screens adjusted for ipad and iphone sizes.