Hint is a rail operation control system. It was designed in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn.

During the process of my bachelor thesis I have played a major role in reseach and certain parts of the interaction design. Furthermore I have been in a key role for the visual design and prototyping phase.

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Background

Every day commuters, travellers and logistic firms take advantage of rail operations around the globe. So called dispatchers play a crucial role here — they monitor and control rail traffic 24/7 to ensure a seamless and safe travel for everyday rail operations.



Challenge

Dispatchers are experts and know their daily routine tasks by heart. We recognized that in especially unscheduled and pressing situations the current system works not as it should. With a great responsibility dispatchers need to take crucial decisions fast.
Combining both, a system which brings the flexibility to have a holistic view on rail operations as well as supporting them in unexpected cases should enhance the safety of daily rail operations.


Process

For our human centered design approach it was necessary to not only design for dispatchers, but also with them. To gain first-hand input we worked closely together with Deutsche Bahn and their operation center in Munich.



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Research & Analysis

Multiple on site visits at Deutsche Bahn helped us to get a detailed picture of the company itself, but more important of our target users and their work environment.

Resulting on our research we could define specific problems in core components. These are reflected in the interaction with the system, the way how and where information is displayed and in communication and exchanging of data.


Prototyping

Getting hands on we started from simple paper prototypes to more drastic rudiments. Through opposing approaches we tested the receptiveness of our target users but also the possibilities and limitations of the feasible.



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Product solution & some eye candy...

To maintain security the interface needs to be functional in its components. Based on our on site visits it was possible to set clear requirements for the product concept and visual design.








Functionality

The system is designed to proactively support the user during work, especially in risky situations. The homogenous system enables a good usability and clear focus. Through visual hierarchies it is possible to get a fast overview and solve tasks target aimed. Simplified and flexible exchange and dealing with data ensures an effective workflow.




Curious about more details? I published the case study with UX Collective on Medium.


Responsibility

  • Research and interaction design for certain parts of the interface
  • Visual design and prototyping


  • Team

    Supervision

    Prof. Jörg Beck & Prof. David Oswald



    Project

    BA thesis in Interaction Design at HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd — Feb '17