RailConnect™
Work List

The all-in-one scheduling tool for railroad superintendents. 

UX RESEARCH / UX DESIGN

Service Planner Mockup.png

Train operators and conductors make up the backbone of the railroad industry. Their daily tasks directly allow large goods to traverse the country reliably and with minimal fuel usage. The current software utilized amongst Class II and Class III railroads received constant feedback of poor usability and frustrating mechanics. We wanted to design a modernized solution for railroad crews to improve the quality of life for the hard-working me and women in the railroad industry. 

ROLE

Interaction Design

Visual Design

Prototyping

User Testing

DURATION

July 21 - Dec 21

TEAM

1 Designer (Me)

1 UX Researcher

1 Product Manager

5 Developers

TOOLS

Figma

Whiteboard

Adobe Creative Suite

Zeplin

Miro

Problem

Too much effort, too little value.

A railroad crews need to know two things to perform their job:

1) Where they are going and;

2) What equipment needs to move.

 

While moving railcars, conductors and crew members record their progress by utilizing a tablet-based software called mCrew. The software garnered a reputation of being confusing and difficult to use. Some frustrated crew members would refuse to use the tablet altogether, opting to fax in a hand-written summary and relying on customer service to digitize their records. 

A rule of thumb in logistics is that real-time data is king. Delayed data entries can create confusion when trying to track shipments. Many customer disputes occur due to rental rates beginning or ending at the wrong time. (Imagine if you rented a car and getting charged an extra day because it got scanned in a day after you returned it.) If we could address the crew member's pain points, we could encourage more software engagement and get closer to real-time tracking. 

Constraints

Design System - Limited to company's themed Google Material design system's component library.

Offshore Development Team - Added layer of complexity in communication and sprint planning. 

 
 
Wooden Hut

Research &
Synthesis

Our team (me and 1 UX Researcher) started by interviewing internal stakeholders and subject matter experts. For two weeks, we gathered information about the internally known issues with mCrew and the characteristics of folks who regularly used the software. 

We then took our findings to a holding company that partnered with us on this project. This company represented the needs of 100+ individual railroads and helped us understand the various kinds of problems a railroad could face. Once we confirmed our internal findings with the holding company, we synthesized two personas.

Crew Persona.png

Trainmaster persona developed from subject matter experts and prior research.

Trainmaster Persona.png

Trainmaster persona developed from subject matter experts and prior research.

The persona provided a clear direction as we sought out to simplify the trainmaster's planning tasks. Before embarking on the project, we conducted an internal workshop with sales, marketing, and product teams to determine the strategy for the project. 

Key Insights

We 

Synthesis

From the data gathered during initial discovery,