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How user research can expand your perspective

January 22, 2021

It’s always fascinating how talking to people who use a certain product or service can give you a new perspective, like in the following example.

The „DB Navigator“ has a new feature. Instead of showing your ticket to the train conductor when he comes through the wagon, you can use the app to check in at the beginning of your trip. That way the train conductor doesn’t have to disturb you while reading, sleeping, checking mails, having a discussion with someone next to you or whatever activity you tend to do during a train ride.

Among my colleagues, who regularly use the train for business trips, this feature gained lots of applause. 

During my last trips I asked the train conductors about how the feature works on their devices and what they can tell me about the passenger reactions. 

A different perspective

One train conductor surprised me with her feedback. She had a very positive and open personality and was quite sad about the fact, that thanks to this feature there will be less interaction with the passenger. She doesn’t see the process of checking the ticket of the passengers as something that might disturb him, but as a way to communicate with each other. She was concerned about how her role as a train conductor might change with this feature and also fears whether her job will be needed in the future.

This is an interesting point of view, that wouldn’t have crossed my mind before. As a passenger I don’t see the ticket checking process in a train as such a pleasant encounter she described. It is something I have to do, because it is necessary and I have to do it when and how the train conductor wants it. Her description reminded me more of the welcoming procedure by a crew while stepping into an airplane.

Conclusion

It might be worth to think about a solution that includes the kind of communication the train conductor wishes for in a way that improves the traveling experience of the passenger. 

Note: This article was originally published at linkedin.com

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