Usability Evaluation: Luas Ticket Machine


Executive summary

Myself and a classmate took on the task of finding out the efficiency of use in the LUAS ticket machine and did this through guerrilla research. We led three tasks involving the public while also observing users behaviour while using the ticket machines. From this research we have found out many pain points and some recommended possibilities in which will better the efficiency of use for not just just off users and tourists but also expert users.


To evaluate the experience of the LUAS machine we used a multi disciplinary research approach. We employed both quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry.

The methods we used ranged from; observation of our subjects in action which we captured through images, video and through a defined data capture sheet, Interviews and a board which engaged quick fly by user feedback. Our research was conducted in three locations across two lines of the LUAS over two days.

We took to Four Courts on the red line, St Stephens Green on the green line and Balally on the green line. These three locations gave us a wide variety of insights as all three stops had very different foot coverage.

St Stephens Green Luas stop

St Stephens Green Luas stop

Balally Luas stop

Balally Luas stop

Four Courts Luas stop

Four Courts Luas stop


We asked each participant to do one of three tasks:

Task 1: Buy a single adult ticket Task 2: Buy 3 adult tickets
Task 3: Buy a single adult ticket and parting ticket

We presented the tasks as handouts to participants to allow them to concentrate on the task better. One of us then recorded their behaviour and reactions through our data capture sheets. After the task the other conducted an interview, allowing time for flexibility of conversation while documenting each step with images.

First  iteration Interview and Observation Sheets

First iteration Interview and Observation Sheets

Second  iteration Interview and Observation Sheets

Second iteration Interview and Observation Sheets


Many people claimed the process of getting a ticket was ‘fine’ or ‘easy’ despite us observing them struggle or hesitate in their actions. The parking require you to have car registration number but there is no signage prior to the ticket machine

alerting drivers to this. People identify the type of tickets available as an issue, would like great choice. One users, said they came across an error message that was not readable to a member of the public. Leap card users tended to top up at the shop. Machine has small numerations for topping up Leap card. One user did not know they could top up at the machine. LUAS worker noted the machines software had been updated 2 months ago and slower since then.

Testing RESUlts

We interviewed 17 people and spent two days observing three LUAS stops across the green and red line. Interviews were sometimes cut off from the arrival of the LUAS but they played a huge role in finding out qualitative information. The interviews also allowed for the user to share past experiences of their interaction with the interface.


observation results

Hesitation was a common observed behaviour. People hovered fingers over buttons in uncertainty, also looked around for reassurance, initial stages fine, it became problematic at map and ticket stages. Many users had exact change to avoid the machine’s delay in giving change. They often had change prepared before arriving to stop to cut time.

If a LUAS approached the users would look to the LUAS and back to the machine, signifying they were aware of the slow ticket printing. Also audio prompt might cause a sense of urgency. The only time some one used their card was to top up their leap card.

user feedback

We decided to add a huge blank board with the question ‘What are your thoughts on the LUAS ticket machine?’ written across the top. One side was for the red line users and the other was for the green line users. This board allowed passers by who didn’t have time to join in, in a task and/or interview but who wanted to be involved or share a thought. Some expanded more than others however it was another great tool in helping with our research.

greenline .jpg

“The speed of change is slow”

[Machine audio] “Woman’s voice is annoying” - alerting people you have cash

“Slow response on some of the buttons”

“It doesn’t like notes”

“Touch screen map confusing”

User journey mapping

When it came to doing out our user journey map we decided to relay each task on a separate map. In doing this it allows us find more pain points and efficiency of use. We first started off mapping each user journey with wool and post it notes on the wall before bringing to information into a digital form.

In the photo below from top to bottom; Task 3, Task 2, Task 1.

MA_S&S_luashero5 copy.jpg


We recommend that the software allows for shorter times between screens.
Audio on or off - not just as the end of the user journey as causes a jarring sense of urgency. Options for those with visual impairments. Greater variety in ticket types. Three day tickets or other such types of short unlimited ticket use would help tourists. The payment option could function more efficiently, adding contactless payment. Overall the system could include less steps, greater labelling on the map as to where stops are located and reduced time to get a ticket.
The parking tickets require car registration which is a barrier for some users who may not remember their registration number, fair warning should be given in the car park. **Balally only**

In addition, improved error messaging and alerting users to what has gone wrong. Equally the system would benefit from showing less on the screen as at times there is too much text with small writing, notably in the parking section.


Overall we found that people using the LUAS ticket machine tended to blame themselves over the machine’s shortcomings. People tended to perceive the task of getting a ticket as easy despite observations of dithering or uncertainty. Users repeated steps in order to get their ticket and could over all complete the tasks with ease. Through small adjustments the LUAS ticket Machine could update into a seamless service for busy everyday users and once off day trippers alike.