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  USABILITY Evaluation: luas ticket machine ui


My classmate and I 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.

Examining the Luas ticket machine interface allowed us to test how users found the experience of buying a ticket.

We employed a varied methodology that allowed us both detailed and flexibility in testing users. We met and spoke with a spectrum of users and employees of the Luas system.

We did this through testing and observing users while buying a ticket. We asked experienced, intermediate and once off users to be involved in the process. We were able to identify the main issue users had when buying tickets through three tasks we set.


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 sign 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 and Balally both on the green line. These three locations gave us a wide variety of insights as all three stops had very different foot coverage.

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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 and to document each step with images.

We initially started with three methods of data capture, all spread out on three pages. However this process showed a weakness in capturing little details we encountered. This lead us to refining our sheets to just one. This improved greatly in allowing us to interview more people with great ease and in efficient time. This learning allowed us to get better results and increase efficiency.

First  iteration of interview and observation sheets; not time efficient or effective

First iteration of interview and observation sheets; not time efficient or effective

Second  iteration of interview and observation sheet.

Second iteration of interview and observation sheet.

Interview insights

We interviewed 17 people. 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, 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.





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

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We decided to add a huge blank sign 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 sign allowed passers by who didn’t have time to join in, in a task and/or interview but who still wanted to share a thought. Some expanded more than others but it was another great tool in helping with our research.

“Alerts people you have cash”

“Slow response on some of the buttons”

“It doesn’t like notes”

“Touch screen map confusing'“



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 the information into a digital form.

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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 who are visually impaired. Greater variety in ticket types. A three day ticket or other such types of short unlimited ticket use would help tourists. The payment option could be function more efficiently, perhaps 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.
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 (Balally)



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.They 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.