Buying a ticket on ÖBB

Buying a ticket on ÖBB


The project: This is a hypothetical case study. I did not work on this project.

I lived in Austria for three years and used the English version of the national railway service’s app countless times. The German-language version was their priority, of course. And they enlisted the help of a translator for the English version, not a UX Writer. I get that. But these small tweaks would have made a big difference.


The success screen 🎟

I’d booked two one-way tickets from Radstadt to Salzburg on the ÖBB Android app, automatically set to English. This screen confirmed my booking.

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 12.01.56.png

Celebratory message 🙌

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 12.19.27.png

All I hear is “Thanks for giving us your money”. This message doesn’t give clear confirmation that the booking process is complete and the ticket is booked, it just tells the user that their money is on its way to the vendor.

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 11.25.01.png

Personalising the message adds delight. I would highlight important details about the trip, such as the destination or date. This generates excitement about the upcoming journey and ends the ticket-booking experience on a positive.

If there are technical limitations or we’re short on space, I’d give the user a confirmation message that’s crystal clear, as in my fourth suggestion.


I’ve made a mistake ⏳

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 12.25.33.png

A couple of things here:

  • I wasn’t worrying until you told me not to

  • I assume that the user’s card won’t actually be billed until these 51 seconds have passed. So it can’t be a refund action as is stated here.

  • “Confirmed too fast” suggests that the user made an error

  • “You have 51 seconds left” – this is stressful!

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 12.47.35.png

Reading “Changed your mind”, the user doesn’t feel like they’ve made a mistake. Whether they’ve actually changed their mind or would like to undo the action for another reason, this message invites them to do so without shaming them.

The message that follows informs the user of the short amount of time left. It does so in a way that puts them in charge of the action – rather than threatening them with a ticking countdown. It’s “you have time to undo this action should you wish to” not “you only have a small window of time before it’s too late”.

Note how much shorter this message is, too. Another thing this cluttered screen needs, fewer words.


You want my data? 🗂

Screenshot 2019-05-10 at 12.50.41.png

A classic case of internal speech making it to the interface. You want my data, I get it. But please be more subtle about it.

(Also, why have you used title case when you used sentence case before? And why does creating an account accompany a ⓘ warning symbol? So many questions.)

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 12.09.04.png

I don’t know the benefits of creating an account, so I ran with my assumptions here.

I’ve flipped the messaging from “why do we want users to create an account” to “what benefit can users get from creating an account”. This is what you can do, here’s how it can help you.

I used the “create account” messaging in both the top line and the button. By repeating the verb, the entire message is clearer and easier for the user to get the gist of when scanning through the page.