the Cercanías ticket machines are a usability nightmare

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From the producers of “There are 167,521 people in front of me buying a cheap ticket on the Renfe website” and “Why 700,000 euros is a ridiculous budget to ‘fix’ the Renfe website” comes a new nonsense. This is the new interface for its ticket machines for Cercanías trains. The goal was supposed to be to make them easier to use, but they ended up doing just the opposite.

I just wanted to buy a Cercanías ticket. Xavier Scribe (@fesja), co-founder of ontruck Y TouristEye, published these days a viral thread on Twitter in which he shared his experience with the new Cercanías ticket machine system. Renfe seems to have changed the interface, and buying a ticket is now more complicated than ever according to his experience.

doUsability, where are you? The captures that it provides in the thread certainly suggest that Renfe has not taken too much into account the fundamental section of the usability of its systems. Jakob Nielsen, one of the great experts in this field, explained how usability is basically ensuring that a product can be used “with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction”.

Nielsen is the author of his particulars “ten commandments of usability“. Among them are the use of words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, that errors are prevented or also allow the user to always have an “emergency exit” that allows them to leave an unwanted process. The Renfe system, as explained Write us how five of these commandments are not fulfilled in an interface that excessively complicates the process of buying tickets.

Not that way. This is noticeable, for example, on some screens with excessive and difficult to understand information, but also in the list of destination stations or the virtual keyboard on the screen, which unfortunately does not seem to work particularly well in this user’s tests.

try before use. Usability is terrible in a system that requires the user to read and think too much and can actually cause various errors. As Escribano concluded, Renfe should recruit good product development (PD) and usability and user experience (UX) professionals. He laments that this “is another case of an untested interface with users”, something that should be another crucial step for the implementation of a service as massively used as this on a daily basis.

Good intentions, bad execution. Renfe has long shown its willingness to try to do things well. Its official website and your press room shows that the initiatives are there and that there are systems like Cronos of the Cercanías in Madrid that tries to facilitate access to the train through contactless technology.

There are many good efforts here, but this type of problem shows that there is room for improvement and that indeed Renfe should try to follow many good practice guides in the development of certain technological solutions. Probably the idea of ​​contracting profiles within the framework of usability and high availability would not be a bad option either, and we only hope that Renfe can correct the step and learn from these errors, which, yes, are fortunately solvable.

From the producers of “There are 167,521 people in front of me buying a cheap ticket on the Renfe website”…

From the producers of “There are 167,521 people in front of me buying a cheap ticket on the Renfe website”…

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