Magnus Christensson: a journey to clean data and better Danish travel

Denmark has a unified public transport information system - but it doesn't match user needs. How do you improve data, getting businesses working together - and produce a world-class interface?

Warning: liveblogging

Prone to error, typos and crimes against grammar. Post will be updated and corrected during the talk and over the 24 hours afterwards. 

Reiseplanen has information about trains and buses in Denmark. It was launched in 1998. It has 25m searches per month, and is owned by the data providers. Their vision is about providing good services to all travellers. People are dependent on them, and are at the heart of how people get around Denmark. 

There were two challenges going into this project: 

1. It is clear that the digital consumer’s behaviour is changing rapidly. In two years mobile use rose from 23% to 55%. There’s high penetration of global service like Facebook, Google and Twitter. The development of service layers in these global services affects the Danish user. These guys have more resources to put into design – which makes matching them a real challenge. 

2. They have a huge size discrepancy between the companies proving the data – which affects their budgets, stagey, prioritisation and ambitions. And, potentially, they were moving from a  small pool of data providers to a huge pool of them, as they involve the users in the process.

They used many of the conventional tools of service design: user-interviews, but they also spent a lot of time interviewing and mapping out the working processes they use. 

There are several use cases:

  • Long, planned travels – often involving many changes
  • Short, ad-hoc travelling – may not be aware of what sort of transport they shall use
  • Commuting – all they need is updates on conditions

There are unmet needs for all of these people in the current service. That’s an opportunity they can work with. 

Working with the organisations it became clear that they needed to focus on the data – they needed a shared view on the data quality they had. They needed to commit to the data – and work towards having what they needed for a better service. 

Be Ambitious

Dream big – but do it small. They need to get together and dream about what they could deliver – but also work on small, nimble projects to build towards it. 

Strategy and implementation are simultaneous

Once you get the agreement in place, they group that are supposed to do it should be set. They should have been the group creating the strategy, and they’ve been thinking about it as an implantation process.

Bring proof

You will run into problems. So, bring proof. It’s hard to argue with the fact that if user behaviour is changing, but your product is not, you’ll lose business. 

Draw Together

Literally. Draw things as a group. Draw every single delivery point, every single responsibility. It helps people understand what it means to change stuff.