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Your firm of interaction design consultants is trying to build up a portfolio of impressive work, to enable it to pitch for business convincingly in the future.

Your task is to produce a usability evaluation of an interactive system by carrying out user testing, plus a presentation of your results. You have a completely free choice of what interactive system you evaluate.

Part ONE: The interactive system and its users. A brief statement of what the interactive system is and what it does – sufficient to make the rest of the report comprehensible; plus a description of the user populations and the assumptions it is reasonable to make about the capabilities of the users. 

Part TWO: The use cases. Brief accounts of the use cases considered, plus a statement of what you are not considering, if you are only looking at part of the system. A use case diagram is optional. 

Part THREE: The evaluation methodology. An exact description of the evaluation procedure to be followed, including exact descriptions of the user tasks being considered and the scenarios and data used, and the instructions to be given to users. 

Part FOUR: The evaluation. The results of applying the evaluation procedure: what you saw test subjects doing, measurements of their performance, answers to debriefing questions, and so on. 

Part FIVE: The findings of the evaluation. The findings of your evaluation about the usability of the interactive system. Include comments on how the findings relate to the results of the evaluation procedure, and ideally about how strong the evidence is, as well as judgements of how serious you think the usability problems are. An itemized bullet point structure is likely to be easier to read than long paragraphs of text. This should also include an appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses and successes and failures of the evaluation process. 

Part ONE: Interactive System and its Users

An interactive system is a system which takes input from the user and performed the user-desired operation. Interactive systems are elementary to use. An end user can perform required task easily to get their job done. Interactive systems have an attractive interface it guides the user and gives directions to operate the system. Interactive system allows user interaction. Interactive systems are computer systems characterized by adequate amounts of communication between human and the computer. In olden days Interactive systems are command based, and these are not user-friendly for some users feel difficulty to use these systems. Nowadays all the systems are, and user interface based systems. Most of these are developed based on Windows or Linux based systems.

Interactive systems are classified as per their user interaction.

  1.    Command based systems
  2.    Menu based systems
  3.    User interface systems

Usability evaluates interactive systems. Usability engineering is a methodology to assess applications which include users, contributors, and developers. This report contains usability issues of existing automatic train ticket vending machine. To analyze the usability of existing train ticket vending machine considers user requirement and operations performed by the user. To identify usability issues case studies are helpful.

In our report consider automatic train ticket vending machine (TVM), the general purpose of this machine vending a train ticket to the user. Ticket vending machine is automated and functional with human interaction. The vending machine produces train tickets by taking cash from the user. Ticket vending machine dispenses the tickets upon the user input. The dealings consist of user exploitation the show interface to pick the destination and range of passengers and kind of journey. The interface is user-friendly and provides an excellent user experience.

Description of Interactive System: Ticket vending machine sells ticket upon the received request from the user. The vending machine contains an interface which is good to use and create a user-friendly experience. A user first selects the desired option from the given appeared MENU. The MENU comprises different options, and each is used for some specific operation. The menu contains enquiry, availability of tickets for reservation, purchase of tickets. So the user may select any of these options/choices and follow the instructions of the vending machine. The primary job of the device is vending tickets to the user or selling tickets to the user. To perform this task user select the option of “Purchase ticket” from the MENU. In the next screen enters the destination and source address in the respective fields and enter passenger number (how many persons to be travelled) then proceed to check out and pay the money via bank credit or debit card or pay cash by cash deposit machine which is available in the vending machine. Here the user may have the problem because the user may not sufficient money or change to pay if the user spends more than the cost how the user gets back the excess amount and if the user wants to cancel the ticket how the user gets the cash back. These are usability issues in the existing system.

Part TWO: Use Cases

Description of User Populations: This interactive system can be used by all the users who want to purchase ticket online. This interactive system helps the users to buy train tickets by searching their trains. The target users of this interactive system is the users who want to buy tickets from the automatics ticket vending machine.

Assumptions about Capabilities of Users: There are four assumptions that can be stated about the capabilities of the users. The first assumption states that the usability is a basic property for building of interactive digital technology. The second assumption states that methods that are assumed are prepared by professionals of Interactive design and Human Computer Interaction who will help to determine the usability of the system. The third assumptions states that system that is designed is usable to all the users.  The methods states about how the interface is usable. The fourth assumption states that all the methods that are used for this interface are all documented.

Figure 1: Overview of the System

(Source: Created by Author)

Aspects of using the system: The aspects that are needed for using the system is acceptance aspect which states that the application is accepted by all the users. The application acceptance aspect involves technology enhanced learning and the usage of learning. Business aspect is also stated in this while using the system of automatic vending machine. The business aspects states holistic effectiveness as well as efficiency of the technology that is designed. The benefits and the value of the technology and the difficulty is considered in the business aspect. There is also instruction aspect which states that proper instruction should be provided to the user who will use the interactive system.

Descriptions of the use cases:

  • A ticket vending machine produces the ticket to the user/passenger. Generating train tickets is the job of this vending machine. Here user or passenger is the actor. Ticket vending machine is a combination of both hardware and software. The evaluation that is done in this research paper is heuristic evaluation which states all the methods that are used for building the user interface. The problems that are associated with this design is that this ticket vending machine needs to have an attractive interface so that the user finds the interactive system attractive to use. The vending machine instructs the user what to do next, but there is no such written manual instruction for the users where users can check the instructions. This is another disadvantage of using this automatic ticket vending machine.
  • A user may do any of the operations such as searching for trains, purchase the tickets as well as generate train ticket from the vending machine. The above diagram depicts the use case diagram for the automatic train ticket vending machine. For purchasing a train ticket, the user will have to give the correct input like destinations and source stations and the total number of passengers so that the machine will calculate the price for all the passengers and print a ticket to the user after payment of the transaction is successful. Bank credit or debit cards are used to pay the price for tickets or by cash also pay and collect the change from that machine. The biggest challenge faced by the user is collecting change from the vending machine. The TVM train ticket vending machine is working with user interaction.

Figure 2: Use Case of Ticket Vending Machine

(Source: Created by Author)

Admin can perform only operations managing and monitoring the whole system.

The ticket vending machine also has a technician who look after the information system of the ticket machine. He looks after if any part pf the system is not working. The technician also looks after the printing system of ticket whether there is paper present in the system or not.

Ticket merchandising machines (TVMs) ought to give passengers with the chance to create fast and straightforward rail price ticket purchases at stations. There are concerns that the quality of information provided to passengers using TVMs is insufficient to enable them to make purchasing decisions appropriate to their journey needs. The use case diagram of the automated ticket vending machine is shown above.

Evaluation Procedure: There are mainly three evaluation procedure that can be stated for evaluation. There is Heuristic Evaluation, Think Aloud Evaluation, and Pluralistic Evaluation. For carrying out this research study, Heuristic evaluation is carried out in which the research goes through different scenarios and tries to find out the errors that are based on the rule of Heuristic Evaluation. The rules that are involved in Heuristic Evaluation is visibility of the system status. In Heuristic Evaluation, it is also searched that the system that is designed matches between the system and the real world. Heuristic Evaluation should also have user control and have freedom for accessing the system. The errors that are found in the system should have the prevention methods where the system is capable of handling all the errors involved in the application. There should be flexibility and there should be efficiency for using the application. The Heuristic Evaluation helps the user to recognize, recover as well as diagnose the functions that are involved in the system and there should be involvement of undo function that can help the users from making an error while inputting or performing the tasks. A last the Heuristic evaluation should involve a documentation where all the methods and steps are clearly mentioned related to the automatic ticket machine that is designed.

Part THREE: Evaluation Methodology

User Tasks: User Task is basically used for model work that are needed to be done by the humans. When a particular process execution arrives in a User task, then a new task is created in the list of user that is assigned to the task. Each task involved in the system application indicates due date of the task. All the due dates of the task should be followed. The tasks that are involved in the application system should be up to date. The initial date of the follow-up is to be created in the user tasks. The user task is used by a single user or can be assigned to a list of users or list of groups for using the automatic application software.

Debriefing Procedure:

  • The main aspect of the machine is the Home page of the screen. It contains all the functions and instructions that the user can see. This evaluation is based on the ticket vending machine. In different countries, there are different vending systems. The options and the pattern on the screen changes with different vending machines. As the languages in different countries are different, so the options on the system also change accordingly.  The machines entry screen has different languages like local language and English language. The user needs to select their desired language he/she prefers and proceed to the next steps of searching trains, checking availability, booking tickets as well as generating the tickets.

The issues of the users are to be considered in evaluating the ticket vending machine. There are many issues that the current vending machine offers. For mitigating the problems in the existing vending machine, the interface of the new ticket vending machine is evaluated so that there are no such issues faced by the user. So the problems that are met by the user are given below

  1. Ticket refund
  2. Ticket buying facility

These are the issues faced by the user while buying a ticket.

The machine used for vending automated electronic tickets helps to generate the ticket for train and supports all kinds of payment that the client is comfortable with. If the user makes more payment than the amount of tickets, then the changing amount is returned to the users in the cash dispenser. The extra amount of change comes in the cash dispenser by the system. The machine is capable to take the currency of countries and accepts denominations of all the types including the coins also. Means the machine should work like cash deposit machine so that the end user can get the money if they pay an excess amount on the ticket cost. Some railways also offers some discount on some tickets, as well as discounts on senior citizen people. So, the machine considers all such cases while printing the ticket and calculate the price accordingly. After successfully printing the ticket the machine says happy journey to the user by showing a message on the screen. The ticket also has written happy journey on it.

  • By observing the design and functionality of the train ticket vending machine, the first screen of the machine contains basic operations which are performed by the user. So, the user may perform all the operations easily. Bullet points for every choice permit the user to drill-down into individual classes if needed. Additionally, the user who has a railway card can insert the card in the card reader of the machine. Having a railway help the user to get a high amount of discount for the railway tickets and sometimes can avail them as free also.

Selecting destination and source stations of the user is typical when the user unable to find the particular station.  The station selecting screen provides facility to the user. As the screen is sensor touched, so the user can drag the pointer on the map to choose the particular place if the name of the station is not available in the list. This makes the system more user-friendly and efficient in its work. If the user inputs any letter wrong accidentally, then the suggestion of the correct word is shown by the machine. This is visually emphasized by changing their colour and shading so that they no longer invoke the affordance of pressing. The main aim behind this approach is that invalid inputs are prevented and complexity is reduced as users only need to consider a subset of control elements/input. This may be particularly useful in the case where the user is not entirely sure about the spelling of a start or destination.

Part FOUR: Evaluation Results

So finally confirm the destination and source stations, concession details and include passenger details and calculate the price and print the ticket.

Evaluation Performance: This methodology is mainly evaluated to get the interface of the ticket vending machine. Evaluating an interface means whether the system is perfect for the user to use. There are many factors that the evaluation methodology of an interface deals with. The user using the system is to be satisfied while using the system. The system should work properly and there should be no error in the system. The evaluation study involves usability testing, expert reviews, the instruments that are needed to do the testing, and whether the system is accepted by the user or not. All these factors are explained in the next section of this report.

The usability methodology mainly has three main factors like efficiency, satisfaction and effectiveness. The evolution methodology is a usability methodology. In this section, a detailed evaluation methodology of the ticket vending machine is described briefly. As per the evaluation methodology, the primary factor is efficiency. An efficient vending machine produces accurate results upon the user request and entered input by the user.

The interface of the machine should play the primary role in automated ticket vending system. The interface is containing menu options which are possible to perform by the user. When the interface works correctly, the system functionality also is accurate and gives accurate results to the user. Machine selling tickets to the user when the user enters valid input in the respective fields are source and destination stations. Then the user makes a payment for the ticket by using the available payment methods like debit card/credit card or by cash. While paying for the ticket in cash, the user will have to insert exact amount of money; otherwise, the machine should give the change to the user. Exact change is one of the main problems in the existing system of the ticket vending machine. Also, cancellation of ticket and payment reversal is a big task in these current systems. Railway boards decide to develop accurate dispense of the cash by cash dispense in the existing machine.

In existing machines, before generating the ticket, the user has to pay the exact amount of money in the cash dispenser of the vending machine. The system cannot return the change, and in that case, the user needs to cancel the ticket/journey. To overcome this issue, the new interface of these machines is designed that will be able to give change to the user. So the future systems will not have the drawbacks of not giving change to the user.

In the evaluation methodology, the second factor is related to satisfaction. Satisfaction depends on user experience. If the user is not comfortable with the system, then the system is not efficient and need to change. System designing depends on the requirements of the user only. If the ticket vending system fulfils all the requirements of the user, then the system functionality is satisfied to the user. If the user purchases ticket he/she doesn’t have sufficient money he/she paid more than the price and the remaining will be paid back to the user. In this case, the user will be satisfied because of the functioning of the system. So the future system is fulfilling all the user requirements.

Part FIVE: Findings of the Evaluation

The third factor is effectiveness; effective system effectiveness depends on the system designing and development. When the user has good user experience while using the system, then the system is considered as an effective system. When a system works correctly, then it means that the design is perfect. When the system gives accurate results to the user, then the system is mainly depended on the development and resource gathering of the data in the ticket vending system.

Evaluation Results: Usability study involves both ends user; the admin and the user. Usability mainly defines the possible operations done by user and admin and if they are facing any problem while using the system. In usability phase, mainly the operations of the phase are defined by the developers. Before developing any system, developers take the requirements of the users and develops the system according to that.

Usability testing involves checking the system that has already been developed before using the system by the public. The system should be efficient enough to fulfil all the requirements of the user. Once the system is made live, it is very difficult to alter the function of the system. So, before making the proposed automated ticket vending machine live to the user, it has to be checked whether everything works well in the system. All the parameters and other resources are collected and test in different possible scenarios. So that the usability testing is essential for developing an interactive system.

Presentation:

  • The vending machines that are used for ticket generating are mostly screen touched. Most vending machines are touch screen machines. A user uses these machines by sensitive finger touch. After selecting the language, a user enters into the next screen that is menu screen.

Menu screen as like below.

User goes with the desired selection of the menu. The user needs to select the option that he/she wants to select. In the ticket vending machines next screen firstly offers the most common destinations which are very popular. Or there is also an option of fetching the map from where the user can select the source and destination where he/she wants to travel. Selecting the place is a concession to the usability principle of potency. The destination stations are listed in the system in chronological order, and the selected options are save for other travel options. The labels on these price tag choices are shorted for the sake of fitting into the allotted space associated there's most undoubtedly an assumption of data derived from previous expertise. If the user doesn’t find the destination station in the appeared list of the screen the user can select the place by clicking on the map option. The user will have to choose the location where he wants to go. The vending machine also facilitates to view the list of stations between the source station and destination station or the nearby station of the place entered. So the user can quickly identify the stations if the user doesn’t know where to get down from the train. Go deeply into the evaluation of the ticket vending machine, if the user wants to travel to London, then he/she must choose the purchase ticket option from the Menu.

Then the next screen appears as a list of stations which are popular and then select the station from the list of the stations. So London station is selected by the user from the list. After choosing the station, the total number of passengers are to be entered who will travel, pay the money and finally print the train ticket. There is a separate place for selecting the number of passengers specifying adults and children. Once the selection of station and passenger list is entered, the total price is calculated by the machine automatically. The user selects the payment option by which he wants to make the payment. There is basically two option for making the payment. Either amount is paid by cash or credit card payment or by net banking.

Once the payment is successful, the ticket is printed and comes out. Payment made by different options by the user. If the user selects payment through internet banking or online banking mode, it will redirect to the next screen of that particular bank where the user has an account. In that screen, the user makes the payment by his/her banking credentials. The same procedure is also followed while making the payment through credit card. Only the different thing that is to be selected is the option of paying. The options that are showed in that list comprises of debit card payment, credit card payment, or by cash.

If the user uses the service of paying the amount by cash, the user can put the exact fare in the cash dispenser or can put any amount of money if the user does not have that particular exact cash that is to be paid.  The machine is developed mainly to overcome the problem of paying the exact amount of money in the cash dispenser of the machine.

  • The testing results are shown below of the user design interface.

Summary of Evaluation Results: When the user confirms the details of the passengers and after all the procedure of payment is complete, a printed ticket for travelling is generated by the machine. The vending machine prints the ticket only after confirming the details of the user. The ticket vending machine is reliable and comprehensive. To make the system successful, there should be a good communication in between the vending machine and the user. The communication should be done properly in between the system and the user. It works with an interaction of the human and based on the input given by the user.

Most of the railways using the automatic train ticket vending machines at the stations helps to reduce the complexity of vending tickets standing in line at the ticket counter and therefore, simplifies the system of selling of tickets. All over the world, railways used ticket vending machines. Some countries even issue railway cards. The railway cards help the user to get more discounts on the tickets, passenger seasonal tickets and concession tickets these all options are acceptable by the ticket vending machine. So many railways are introducing the machines that are user-friendly. The machines for vending tickets are so much easy and user-friendly that they can be used by the blind people as well.  Ticket vending machines are based on technology working machines. In some of the countries, there are also machines that connect with the user over voice conversation. Designed machines with voice interaction mean that the machine can take the instruction from the user over voice as input and the machine can validate it by performing such actions. These type of machines are very helpful to blind people as well, so that blind people can also purchase tickets or utilize the service of the automated ticket vending machine that is offered by the ticket vending machine. Vending machines give high quality services to the user.

Assessment of Usability: The application that is designed have helped the people to learn about the design the application. The design application helps all the users to use the machine efficiently. Task analysis of the application states about how the users uses the application and also contains all the steps about what the people needs to do to for using the application. All the problems that are related with the application are stated as Heuristic evaluation. The heuristic evaluation is done from the human computer interaction.

Critical Appraisal:

  • The machines for automated ticket vending is very different from the counter ticket vending. The ticket vending machine works for 24 hours a day and 365 days in a year. This helps the user to avail service from the railway at any time they want to. The services of the system can be utilzed by the citizens who frequently travel on the train. The systems of the automated ticket vending machines are based on Linux. Technicians or software engineers troubleshoot the machine if the machine is not working properly. These machines are touch screen calibrating and voice-based interactive machines. High end scalable and secure machines. It works in any kind of general environment or weather conditions. It has access to all the railway stations across the country. Some countries design their machines support multiple languages to ease of the usage for the local people. Because local people know only local languages, the railways thought of that matter and introduced multi-language supported machines.  In India, these machines issuing platform tickets also, and officials of Indian railway board believe that it reduces the burden on the ticket counters and as well as reduce the complexity of the work and manpower. Vending machines are performed the user required action in a fraction of seconds with accurate results, so the passengers and people are interested in using the machines. By attracting the people railways earning more money than the usual
  • The below stated are the findings of the evaluation of the automatic train ticket vending machine. Steps for designing a user-friendly train ticket vending machine.
  1. A user selects the language in the entry screen of the ticket vending machine.
  2. After selecting the user found services or basic operations which are performed by the user.
  3. User goes with any of the available operations and follows the guidelines of the machine.
  4. User select purchase ticket option if the user wants to buy the ticket.
  5. User select availability option if the user wants to check the availability of the trains.
  6. In the new vending machines make video or user guide to the user to perform the operations.
  7. A user may enter input manually for the selecting source and destination stations.
  8. User select stations from the appeared list of stations also.
  9. The machine should also accept railway concession cards or eligibility cards etc.
  10. A machine should accept cash and as well as dispense cash if the user paid excess amount than the price of the ticket.
  11. A user may pay the price to the ticket by online pay or credit or debit card the machine should support this functionality.
  12. Provide the ticket cancellation facility to the user and at the same time, the amount is transferred or refund to the user so the machine should work like cash dispense machine.
  13. To print the ticket the machine asks for confirmation.
  14. The machine should have capable to guide the handicapped persons like blind and deaf people also.
  15. The machines front screen should be user-friendly.
  16. Each and every step in developing the machine should be, and the user doesn’t feel difficulty while using the machine.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that an automated ticket vending machine is very much useful for the user who travel by train frequently. The ticket vending machines are basically screen touched that are operated by Smart cards most of the time. The passengers can avail the tickets from the machines at all time he wants to. The system gives service for all 24 hours in a day and for all days in a year. The train ticket vending machine is an example of interactive machine.

The main purpose of developing the machine is generated or print train ticket automatically by the user. The drawback that the current system avail is that the payment is to be made only with the exact amount of fare for purchasing the ticket. To mitigate this drawback basically, this system is proposed. This proposed system of the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine mitigates the drawback of the current systems. This is the common issue that is faced by the user while fetching the ticket. When the user enter the input like source and destination stations and pay the ticket. This proposed machine is expected to overcome all the present issues of the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine.

Hwang, S.H. and Choe, J.H., 2015. A study on User Experience of Automatic Ticket Vending Machine UI: Focused on Seoul Metro Line 9. The Journal of the Korea Contents Association, 15(6), pp.54-61.

Rathod, V.J., Patil, S. and Shelar, G., 2017. Comparative study of ticket booking system.

Koujalgi, H. and Bale, A.S., 2017. Biometric Based Automatic Ticket Vending Machine for Indian Railways.

Lu, M.H. and Yueh, H.P., 2015. A Usability Study of the Automatic Ticket Vending Machines for the Middle-aged and Elderly Patrons&58; The Case of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit System. Journal of Library and Information Studies, 13(2), pp.67-97.

Salunkhe, B., 2017. Automatic Protein Shake Freestyle Vending Machine.

Article gathered from the source 

https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/24046/research-into-passengers-experience-of-ticket-vending-machines-february-2017.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220587882_User_Interface_Design_for_Public_Kiosks_An_Evaluation_of_the_Taiwan_High_Speed_Rail_Ticket_Vending_Machine

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220587882_User_Interface_Design_for_Public_Kiosks_An_Evaluation_of_the_Taiwan_High_Speed_Rail_Ticket_Vending_Machine

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-60492-3_56

https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/usability-evaluation-of-ticketing-system-of-metro-manila-train-n/12466068

https://www0.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/ucaciwc/DocsPDF/IConnellErgonomics98.PDF

https://www.attention-cph.com/portfolio-items/ticket-vending-machine-skanetrafiken/

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6515185/

https://www.atlantis-press.com/proceedings/caai-17/25881127

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/001401398186522

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