User Testing in AFC 2.0


Members of the MBTA Riders’ Transportation Access Group (R-TAG) testing prototype devices

Our Process

User testing is an important part of any technology project, and it helps us make sure that the system we’re designing and building works for the people who need to use it—people like you. These are some of the best practices we’ve incorporated into our process.

  1. We gather initial customer feedback in focus groups and demos.

  2. We incorporate that feedback into the system design and requirements..

  3. We work with a professional usability testing agency to create a list actions customers will need to perform when they use the system in the real world.

  4. We ask a diverse group of participants to perform those actions as they would in real life.

  5. Researchers, Cubic designers, and MBTA stakeholders observe those tests, note any problems, and produce a test report with our findings.

  6. We use the reports to develop a usability improvement plan.

  7. We improve the design based on our findings and analysis.

  8. If the changes are significant, we test again.

Our Participants

Our user testing participants should be representative of real MBTA riders. This means we recruit customers who represent diversity in:

  • Race

  • Geography

  • Socio-economic status

  • Education level

  • Age

  • Language

  • Ability

  • MBTA use (frequency and mode of transit)

  • Preferred payment method (cash, credit/debit card, Charlie Ticket, Charlie Card)

We also do user testing with staff who need to use the new system as part of their jobs.

Our Findings (So Far)

We perform user tests on all new hardware and software.

Based on earlier user testing, we’ve already made some changes to our initial designs:

  • Customers expect screens to always be touch screens, so we modified our designs so every fare vending machine features a touch screen.

  • Some customers were confused by the online registration process, so we clarified the wording and design of the screens so they could better understand their options.

  • Some customers had a hard time grabbing their card and receipt in the initial machine design, so we raised the height of the ticket tray, and adjusted a spring on the door so it would open wider.

These are just a few examples of how we’ve incorporated feedback from user testing into our designs. User testing is one of the best ways we can make sure that we’re designing and building a system that makes your experience on the T better.