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The new SL app makes public transportation more accessible for everyone in Stockholm

Published in News, Design, Technology

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June 1, 2020 · 3 min read time

The SL app is the mobile application of Greater Stockholm’s public transportation, featuring mobile tickets, travel planner, and public transportation information services. The renewed app was released in May 2020 for iOS and Android.

Trafikförvaltningen at Region Stockholm is the public transport authority in Stockholm, transporting approximately one million people every day – using busses, metros, trains, ferries, or mobility services for the elderly. The SL app is one of the key digital channels for SL, also enabling contactless customer service and reducing the consumption of physical tickets. 

SL UI screenshots

In addition to helping with public transportation in general, the app helps to reach important sustainability targets for the Region Stockholm.

The section for Development and Digitalization within Trafikförvaltningen was founded in 2018, with the aim to build and maintain digital services in-house with the help of people who are experienced in agile ways of working. Nitor is one of the companies in the multisourcing environment that consists of several agile teams. The app development team consists of a Product Owner, Scrum Master, iOS and Android Tech Leads, UX Lead, and several developers, designers and testers.

Nitor has previously been deeply involved in developing a similar kind of app for the Helsinki region, so this was a project in which we could offer our expertise and passion.

This was a chance to make an impact on society. The app has some 900 000 users and the fact that it helps people to choose public transportation over driving means a lot. I’m proud of the accessible customer experience the renewed app provides”, says the ticketing team’s Product Owner, and former UX Lead of the app, Björn Heselius, who also has been part of building Nitor's business in Sweden since we first opened our Stockholm office in 2017.

Agile development team gathered continuous feedback from passengers

With the renewed SL app, Region Stockholm wanted to work in an agile way to create a product that was inherently user friendly. The SL app has two core functions: find a trip and buy tickets for public transportation. These simplistic functions are enhanced by simple navigation that assists both people living in Stockholm and people visiting who are less familiar with the city.   

The team worked in an agile way and feedback was gathered continuously. The main goal was to simplify the user experience of the app and make the ticket purchase section adjust to the different needs of the customers.

In the pre-study phase, the designers actually spent a significant amount of time in the Stockholm metro asking passengers about their experiences. This led to several old features being cut in the first version of the app. It felt important to start with a clear focus on the main use cases; finding a suitable journey and buying a ticket, as well as providing a fully accessible app solution for those using the voice interface instead of a graphical UI”, Heselius describes. 

As is customary in an agile project, many of the hypotheses were scrapped after validating them with the customers. A lot of ideas stuck, too. Eventually, the team was able to come up with a solution prototype that worked and it was further developed into a beta. The beta was built and tested with a 300 person group during the early winter of 2020.

The data and feedback were used to build the release ready app which was released in May 2020 roughly a year after the development started. 

The renewed app was released on iOS and Android in May, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The team reasoned that reduced passenger numbers would allow for a stable rollout of the app and feedback and data are being gathered for further improvements. 

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