IRCTC is one of the most widely used platform in India for primilarly booking train tickets as well as other secondary services.
UI / UX, Web Design
Note: The Government did a redesign of their own and the Reservation system is way better than before now.
Defining the Problem Statement
People might have grown habitual to using the current interface of IRCTC but the following problems if solved can improve the user experience by mutiple times.
The current version if critically viewed from design perspective doesn't stand well upto the standards. Here is the current version of the homepage.
A peculiar question that pops up after seeing this homepage is that, "How the IRCTC website is still so widely used inspite of various UX problems?" A possible answer could be that IRCTC is a part of a critical service and users have grown to become familiar with this interface. But this doesn't leaves us from improving upon the experience.
- Very small sized type face which make the text difficult to read.
- Small sized buttons that leave much larger room for error for unintended clicks.
- The alerts section is vertical moving section. The reader doesn't get enough time to even read a single sentence before it disappears from view at the top.
- A lot of options in form of horizontal menu are presented upfront while most are not used that frequently.
- These problems are present at the inner pages as well when a people find trains between stations and book the services.
The road to perfect IRCTC (Let's tend to perfection in real world)
The homepage as shown above could be improved upon from the present version. I sketched an intial wireframe from the homepage as below.
Some improvements and how these made there place in the page:
- The horizontal menu is consolidated into a services dropdown menu to the left. At any given point of time it's better not to overload people's limited cognitive faculties with a lot of menu choices.
- Upfront and modern login form in the backdrop of a catching hero image.
- Alerts and Updates and shown in the numbers of 3 to 4 while the user can access all of them through the "View All" link.
- Various sections of IRCTC website are presented in a grouping of 5 items per row. CLicking on of the links open a modal with further information in that category.
- Upfront mobile application promotion of all platforms which could attract the users to access IRCTC on the go.
2. Services Dropdown Menu
The various services provided by IRCTC can be grouped and presented in easily viewable format without overloading people's cognition abiltiy
3. Logged In Page
The logged in page was customized to give a better experience in the follwowing ways:
- The "Plan Your Journey" is presented in a horizontal format to provide a linear exprience of filling up details.
- Below it is the Alerts and Updates section that is similar to the one on the homepage.
- Most commonly used servies like cancellation, viewing of booked tickets is presented in a similar format of rectangular row items as on the homepage. Keeping them below the "Plan Your Journey" section keeps people from getting distracted among a lot of choices as it happens in the present version.
4. Train Listing Page
This page shows the list of trains when a person performs a search operation.
- The details of the search query are presented and can be edited to update the search results in real time.
- The filter and select quota section can further modify the list as per the needs of the person.
- The trains are listed in the row format. Clicking on any class button slides down a view below that row containg "seat availability" and "fare information" with the option to book the tickets.
Reflections and further improvements
There could still be a lot of improvements to the IRCTC website. It has such vast information and no wonder it's difficult to organise a lot of information for small devices and cater to millions of people.
IRCTC has a large number of pages which require a robust style guide to unify the design process between its various sub sections.
This is my first attempt to improve the IRCTC website and there's a lot of room for improvement in the future.