Singapore introduced it’s unified contactless transit card (EZ-Link) back in 2002. Since then, snaking queues to top up (reload) the cards are a common sight.
For 18 years, they introduced a plethora of solutions to solve this issue. Ranging from using ATMs to top-up (which only shifted the queue from one machine to another) to auto top-up through a bank account (imagine unlimited spending on transit).
They even sold readers to set up a top-up machine at home.
Transport for London
Transport for London has a brilliant solution that enables you to remotely top up the Oyster through an app. The value will be stored in the card when you touch the reader at faregates upon entering/exiting the station. This reduces the need for a dedicated machine just to add-value and enables you to top-up anywhere. But this innovation has never reached Singapore.
Behold – Advanced Technology
What we have instead is an app that can perform magic. With an android phone, you can simply tap the card via NFC to top up the card immediately. It’s amazing when it works because what used to require a huge machine is now possible in my hands.
I’ve since shown that feature to my family and friends and would always get the same ‘wow’
But nobody seems to know about this because this app tries to do a lot at once. Its lack of focus is further elaborated in the app UI.
Based on the poster, the key features are:
1. Track transactions/travel history
2. Register EZ-link cards for insurance/blocking
3. Earn and redeem rewards
4. “Express Top Up” (top-up)
5. Register for EZ-Reload (sign-up to auto top-up)
6. EZ-Pay (??)
What I think will really get people to download this app:
1. The top-up feature that gives you the freedom to top-up anywhere, anytime (for your family and friends too)
*For a company that loves planting EZ on everything, they seemed to have missed the chance to call it EZ-Top-up.
Why do I think the other features pale in comparison
The other 5 listed features are good-to-have or are for a one-time interaction (to sign up for a feature/could’ve been a website).
Most commuters do not have the habit of tracking their transactions unless there has been an anomaly, like a sudden drop in card value or a dispute to be raised.
Registering for EZ-Reload could have been a website. And I wonder what’s the sign-up rate. I wouldn’t want a transit card to have access to my bank account/credit card. So this existing feature has barriers to overcome, let alone asking commuters to download an app just to sign-up for it.
So.. if the top-up feature is so groundbreaking.. where would you place it in the app?
The top-up feature is so important that they added two banners on the home screen to highlight it.
For some reasons, the hierarchy of the app is reversed instead.
The flagship top-up feature is the most unreachable button on the screen. And the most eye-catching + button is not for top-ups, but for adding EZ-Link cards. As if commuters have a new card to add, every time they open the app.
What’s are we designing again?
The app’s home tab is represented by a bus pictogram. But why a bus? Why not a train, or a card, or the logo of EZ-Link since it’s nowhere to be seen on the home screen?
Remember the users we are designing experiences for.