Revamping MyTicketBuddy Android Application

As part of improving our services to the customers, we had decided to revamp our MyTicketBuddy Android application. The latest update is having a new interface and is bringing you some exciting offers and deals. Now every new user registering with us will get a signup bonus, apart from the usual cash back and discounts. If you have already installed our app just don’t hesitate to update our latest version.

User Experience:
MyTicketBuddy version 1.0 was blatant without many features. All you can do with that application was to book tickets of your favourite operators and travel. User Experience was not up to the industry standards. We didn’t cache past travels of the customers and it did not have suggested routes either. For a normal user without much technical background, these features will look like the greatest boon during last minute bookings; of course we had to learn it the hard way.

Offers and Deals:
This is something we had to deal to stay toe-to-toe with our competitors. The travel industry is changing every minute and if we fail to compete with our competitors we will be kicked into the black hole. After weeks of detailed analysis and strategy building, our marketing team came up with the conclusion that our competitors are using only two type of offers.

Discount and Cashbacks are those deals. Discounts will be deducted immediately before a bus ticket booking while the user will have to wait until the next booking to utilize the cashback. But every Tom, Dick and Harry offer these deals. So we have to come up with a better solution to thrive in this competitive world. After brewing endless caffeine and brainstorming, we had decided to give the deal first and expect the customer to book a ticket from us.

The idea is simple, you will get 300 MTB CASH upon registering through the mobile application. The users can use the MTB CASH to claim discounts every time they travel. If you have run out of MTB CASH, then you can always top it up using the available “PROMO CODES”. If you still insist on redeeming the age-old discounts, there will be “PROMO CODES” for the same so now you know that we are keeping both our options open.

Apart from discounts, one that struck our mind that we will have to exclusively reward our customers. We had analysed various permutations to offer a gift to our customers. We had two criteria for the gift. 1. The gift has to be very exclusive something our target customer don’t get every day. 2. It has to be memorable, that our customer uses almost every day.

The criteria were simple but getting a right product at the right price was a herculean task. Our marketing team was literally fighting themselves with many ideas like gifting apparels, Ray-Ban sunglasses and watches. But one-challenge we had faced about these products is that they come in several colours and sizes, personally, I hate everything that comes in White (including Real Madrid). We all have our own preferences, don’t we? Still, there’s one thing we love more than our girl-friend. Curious? that’s our mobile phone. When we have decided that the gift is a mobile phone we didn’t have to look beyond iPhone.

Gifting iPhone X will punch a large hole in our pockets so we have decided that the model is iPhone 6S, something that will not blow us and still loved by our customers. If anyone is still planning to raise a question about iPhone X, just stay tuned with us we still have it in our future plans.

We had closed our exclusive gift model as iPhone 6S for a customer selected by lucky draw every week or 1000 tickets, whichever comes later.

Covering Bases:
By this time we had covered all our requirements and plans. We were aware of the challenges we will be facing and features that are to be seamlessly integrated into the MyTicketBuddy Android application. But the real challenge started when we try to imply our strategies.

The Journey to Redemption:
Home Screen:
Since, we had decided to give some deals, offers and exclusive gifts; it has to be displayed to our customers or to the potential ones peeping into your mobile screen. That eventually led us to scrap our old home screen of MyTicketBuddy mobile application. The new home screen is sleek and neat which also has a slider that will display our latest offers and its T&C.

According to our analysis, adding this offer slider has enabled every to stand aware of our offers and deals. The user can make a decision which offer he/she prefers before booking a ticket from us.

Source and Destination Selection:
Another major hiccup without old MyTicketBuddy mobile application is the selection of Source and Destination. Our old feature somewhat resembled MyTicketBuddy website where the user will select source or destination from a dropdown list. Most of our customer have been complaining about this feature as they found it difficult to select source and destination from their smartphones.

To improve the UX we had moved the selection of Source and Destination to a separate page were popular cities will be listed to the customer. The user can simply select the Source and Destination with a touch.

Date Selection:
Selecting the travel date was another problem, our customers were facing. Most of the customers were not really comfortable in scrolling date pickers to select dates.

To help our customers in selecting dates more easily, we had to come up with a new interface in selecting dates. Before making a decision to change the date selection interface, our team had decided to build an algorithm based on the bookings made by our customers.

This algorithm had helped us to find that most of the customers are booking tickets for immediate travel or upcoming weekend. Very rarely, our customers were booking tickets after a month. A festival or bulk holidays were lingering around these bookings.

Based on our findings, we had decided to include immediate dates without scrolling much. With our latest date interface, our users can select the next four available dates with a touch. While dates for another two weeks can be selected with a simple slide. Dates after two weeks can be selected by simply touching calendar icon.

Bus Booking Module:
This is where the real challenge started for us. Most of the travel results were fetched through API calls from our business partners. Our team had to analyse the available resources like Operator name, Bus Type, Boarding and Dropping Points, Fares, Bus Timings and Seat Layouts. After getting our hands on the available resources we had come up with a solution to present all these resources step by step as required by customers. For that, we had to go back to step number 1 i.e. to analyse the customer requirement.

Since we got covered the details like source, destination and selection. The next thing our customers looked for is the list of operators available and timings. So we listed operators and their timings. But we had got very harsh feedback during staging environment. Most of our customers really frowned that the fares came as a surprise to them after selecting operators. So we had decided to list fares and bus types along with operator names and timings.

After listing basic details like Operator Name, Bus type, boarding time and fares came biggest challenge of them all; Bus seats. Bus seats will differ according to bus types. There were three basic bus seats Seater, Sleeper and Seater cum sleeper. These three basic seat combinations will be spread over two tiers in some buses while the remaining had only one. So we had to display two-seat layouts on the same screen which is quite problematic considering the fact that some bus had only one layout. But displaying two-seat layouts in the same screen also hindered user experience and customer were confusing themselves by selecting upper-tier seats instead of the lower one.

To solves this confusion, we introduced a tab to switch-over between upper and lower tier seat layouts. Buses with single tier will simply display seats and will not have the switching tab. This process had saved us a lot of time and design only became better; Mazeltov to the guy who came up with this idea. Now that we have a seat layout, the next challenge was to list boarding and dropping points.

We listed boarding and dropping points in two tabs which switch over automatically, the feature was really good. But our customers frowned because they didn’t get the desired boarding or dropping point after selecting seats. So the only solution was to list the available boarding points before selecting seats. Still, we had a hurdle there. Like I said earlier, the layout which displays operators are filled with several details like operator name, fare and time etc. So placing boarding points in that list will only make things worse.

To overcome this challenge, we had to introduce a new feature called filters. The idea was to list all boarding points and filter out the operator based on the boarding point selected by the user. Since we had taken a step to introduced filter option, our team had decided to expand the filter module to operators, bus types and timings.

Filtering Out Everything:
MyTicketBuddy App filter module is now having some extra-ordinary features including filtering based on Amenities, Bus Types, Operators, Boarding and Dropping points. Apart from filters, MyTicketBuddy app has a sorting option where the user can sort services based on departure timings and fares.

Booking Details:
This is where you will enter your personal details to confirm your tickets. The older version of MyTicketBuddy App had a neat interface to enter personal details so we had decided not to break anything that is already fixed. So the old layout booking details remain the same in the revamped MyTicketBuddy application.

Claiming Everything:
As mentioned before, we had introduced an offer and discount module in the latest version of the MyTicketbuddy app. The next step was to built in a sleek interface for the user to claim those offers and discounts. The thumb rule for this module was not to add any more pages other than already present. Because they were too many processes already after selecting the seats.

Our old module was simple which displayed booking details followed by a button to proceed to the payment gateway. Also, there was a problem with our wallet because the user will be forced to add money in the wallet in case the total purchase is higher than the amount in the wallet. For Example: If you have 490 INR in your wallet and the total purchase comes around 500 INR then you will be forced to add 10 rupees to the wallet so that you can use the full amount. This process seemed quite silly so we had to tweak the wallet worked.

We had made some changes in our wallet logic so now if you have purchased for 500 INR with the balance of 490 INR, all you will be paying is 10 rupees. This process had reduced an execution logic. Going back to offers and deals we had introduced two new modules. One is display promo codes while the other is to claim the cashback.

Promo Code Module:
In the promo code module, we will list all the available promo codes and the user can select any one of them to claim a discount or cashback. Discounts will be immediately applied and cashback will reflect after you complete the travel.

Cashback Redemption Module:
So now got the Cashback which we had named as “MTB CASH” and want to redeem it. When talked about redeeming Cashback, we came up with the idea of allowing the user to enter the amount of cashback they want to redeem. But the only hurdle was what will happen? if the user claims more than the allowed cashback. Obviously, we can show an error message but it will be a bad user experience so we had decided to allow the users to claim maximum allowed cashback in a click. Now you can claim the cashback by just checking the box that says “Apply MTB Cash“.

Now that you had claimed discounts, cashback and selected your favourite seat, you can pay for the tickets using a variety of payment options like Credit/Debit Cards, Inter Banking and UPI. Happy ticketing!!!

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