Case Study: Melbourne’s Myki

Jessie Newton
14 min readOct 13, 2020

Myki is your ticket to travel on Melbourne’s trains, trams and buses. Myki was completely rolled out across the metro public transport system in late 2012, waving goodbye to the previous Met-card system. Since this date, Myki been plagued with issues with users of the reusable smart card experiencing ups and downs with the system ever since. I have been tasked with coming up with solutions on how to improve the system and fix some common issues with the Myki System.

Overview of the Brief

I have been asked to examine and improve the Myki system. To do this I must identify and research difficulties that people face during their current public transport experience and how Myki interacts with this. It will be important to identify what is working well and what people think will make the system better. Ultimately my goal is to improve peoples experiences with the public transport system across Melbourne and Victoria.

I will break the brief into 7 parts, research, Synthesis, Ideation, Prototyping, User Testing, Final Solution and evaluation. It is important I research a broad range of areas using methods such as Territory Mapping and user interviews so I can identify what actually needs to be changed. This will allow me to create a prototype of the solution and conduct user testing to reiterate and improve on my chosen solution, so I can present the most rounded desired outcome before presenting it back to my peers and the client.

Part 1 — Research

Territory Mapping

Territory mapping is a fast, low resource way to gather an initial set of ideas around a particular system or service. It captures a vast set of information from a group of people based on their knowledge and experience.

Territory Mapping is broken down into 5 sections for people to comment on
PEOPLE: any person or group that interacts with the experience
PLACE: any location (physical and non) that a person might encounter part of the experience
PRODUCTS: any product that relates to the experience
PROCESSES: any process that is involved in the experience
PERFORMANCE: any measurable attribute

This task really got us thinking about Myki. It was interesting to see what matters were raised and which took further thinking and discussion to undercover.


From here I made 5 assumptions. The purpose of creating these assumptions is so I have a range of things to survey my users about. This will help me to identify clear objectives from my surveying.

Assumption 1 — Top Up Process
Users are frustrated with the top up processes currently available. They find machines are slow to process and that the user interface doesn’t flow well.

Assumption 2 — Appearance
Users find that it is difficult to differentiate between Myki cards. They have no obvious markings telling you whether they are full fare or concession.

Assumption 3 — Tourist
Tourists find the Myki system confusing and difficult to use. There are currently no short term options for visitors which can cause frustrations for those who are new to the system or only plan to use it for a few trips or days.

Assumption 4 — Balance
Regular commuters who are travelling through major stations find the lack of feedback about what their current balance is annoying.

Assumption 5 — Online
Users avoid topping up their Myki card up online. They find that the site is difficult to use and the processing time for transactions take too long.


It is important to look at what other smart card systems are doing right and wrong so I can either look forward to these systems for inspiration or tips on what to do better. I focuses on other Public Transport systems in Australia. Here is my summaries of each competitor.

Opal is the public transport system card for NSW. It is designed to make getting around on public transport easy. You can travel anywhere from the Blue Mountains to Bondi, or Goulburn to Scone, using the same card.

- Customer consideration
- Cost-effectiveness
- Can be used at the airport
- Offers a refund
- Weekly Travel Reward: After 8 journeys in one week (Mon-Sun travel week), the rest of your travel is free.

- Balance can only be incremented in $10 units — meaning it may be difficult to load the exact amount required

Go Card

Go Card is TransLink’s electronic ticket to fast, easy and convenient travel on all TransLink bus, train (including Airtrain), ferry and tram service

- Ticket options
- Disability Focus
- Make 9 paid go card journeys, on the same card within a week (Monday to Sunday) then receive free travel on every additional trip made during the rest of the week.
- If seniors use their go card for 2 paid journeys in 1-day travel free for the rest of the day.

- It takes two days for online top-up to be effective
- Limit on places you can travel


Now I have a bit more insight about Myki it’s time to ask the people. I am creating two different surveys in order to capture my different target groups. With a group of other researchers, I headed into the public to hunt out a range of users. This involved students, regular commuters, seniors and tourists. We hit up a range of locations including Bourke St, Melbourne Central and Federation Square as well as various tram stops around the city to find out users.

Survey 1 — Tourists
The first survey I completed was in regards to tourists using Myki. I needed to grasp how they interact with the system, what an outsiders point of view is and also if Myki’s current tourist perks are known about and being used to their full value.

Tourist Results Infographic

The results from my Tourist Survey were particularly interesting.

I had previous assumptions about tourists staying within the free tram zone and not requiring a Myki but this is not the case. It was also interesting that many tourists don’t actually interact with the Myki website. This raises questions about why not and Myki’s current online presence.

One statistic that was not surprising involved the Visitors pack. Personally finding information on this was difficult and I knew what I was looking for. This will be really helpful in moving forward.

Part 2 — Synthesis

Once the research is conducted, it’s time to analyse and decipher the information that I and others have collected and discover the direction for my recommended solutions. The first part of this process was infinity mapping

Infinity Mapping

Once we have mapped out each concept, each person in the group is required to write an infinity insight statement. This statement summarises the parts of each section into a clear single sentence which can easily be referred to in the next sections. As a group, we worked in silence to break all of our content into sections and to refine this. Below is all of the information we pulled together organised into qualitative and quantitive data.

Myki should provide easier access for tourists offering tourist specific options such as multi-day passes, souvenir Myki cards and refunds on departure while focusing on assisting new users with learning about how they can easily top up and navigate the Myki system.

Online processes need to be immediate and the user interface more approachable for users while becoming high traffic and appealing.

Myki Machines
Myki machines must decrease the time it takes users to top up their cards. An emphasis needs to be placed on making the software more accessible for different demographics and giving the user a range of quick and easy top-up options.

Myki needs to raise card registration to the forefront of their system. An emphasis needs to be placed on making this option quick and easy while empowering users through the benefits and perks of having a registered card.

Station Attendant
Users rely on station attendants for personal experiences and quicker top-ups when there are large ques at machines, Myki needs to utilise these human interactions and involves them in encouraging and showing people to correctly use the system.

Card visuals and quality
Myki needs to make card differentiation clearer and consider having personalising options to get users to interact more positively with the card system and show excitement towards their Myki.

Myki needs to create an application that allows users to take full advantage of the system allowing users to top up where ever they are, checking balance, planning their journey, and allowing them to see line delays and disruptions.

Fares and services
Myki needs to make fares clearer to customers and offer them better ways to find out about delays and queue hotspots around the Myki service.


From here I need to come back to my three target groups and create a persona around each. It is really important that I not only focus creating a basic face for each target group but I place an emphasis on the person, their hobbies and what Myki means to them to really gain value from creating personas at all. On top of my persona, I have created an Empathy Map for each persona which runs through what they think, feel and want to achieve through using Myki.

Journey Map

After looking at who my users were as well as their trait it became important to further understand their relationship with Myki. To do this I mapped out what experiences my personas might experience. This worked its way back to before they had even considered using the system.

Tourist Journey Map

Part 3 — Ideation

Ideation was all about bringing the information I had collected together and decided which direction is most appropriate to take. We worked together to brainstorm a range of ideas and then selected our top 10. Before selecting a final direction it was important to take into consideration the social, ethical and environmental impact of each solution.

After this stage, I really had 3 main solutions which I thought were suitable for Myki.

The first and obvious choice was to create an App. This would bring the control back into peoples pockets and allow them to access clearer Myki information.

The second choice was to increase online awareness and really focus on updating its website to make it more user friendly. Changing the layout of content and possibly making ‘mini’ and specific sites for different users would also be encompassed in this solution.

My third solution was to add new infrastructure to stations in the form of interactive kiosks. They would house a range of information and particularly be aimed at helping tourists whilst making the current top up and balance check easy and accessible.

Typically I like to do things a bit different. Creating an app seemed like the safe option so I decided to create a kiosk.

Wireframes and brainstorm for what needs to be included in the kiosk

After creating a range of wireframes I took tested a basic scenario on them. I created a to-scale wireframe so users could interact with the elements at the size. It was also nice to allow users to experience it at this size and also get a feel for how each element would work together.

Part 4 — Prototyping

After taking on the feedback from my original wireframes and lo-fi user testing it was time to create a high fidelity prototype. I did this using photoshop and Invision.
My prototype can be found here:

I broke my content into 5 clear sections. It was really important for me to include both symbols and text as this makes it clear at to exactly what section does. If you have lower English the symbols may also assist users in finding their way around the kiosk.

Journey Planner Maps

Journey Planner

The journey planner feature is currently a part of both the PTV and Tram Tracker applications. A lot of users currently interact with this feature as it gives them times and direct routes to reach their destination. As PTV covers multiple types of transport it was important that I showed these in my kiosk. I highlighted train, tram, Vline, bus and nightrider services. Users can click on their destination or search it as well as viewing a range of maps for each. The kiosk works similar to a phone or tablet and allows users to zoom in on the maps to get a clearer view as well as navigating around them all at the touch of a finger.

Places of Interest

The places of interest tab are really where I think my kiosk differs from current applications and websites Myki and Public Transport Victoria have in place. The tab allows users to look through images to identify locations of interest. They can also search locations if they know the name but want more information about their destination. Users can then automatically search how to reach their place of interest from their current location linking back to the journey planner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top up and Balance Check

The top-up and balance check is the major role of current Myki machines. I haven’t changed the layout of this as users understand the system and think it flows well.


The help section of the kiosk has 2 main functions. It needs to have information at the ready for users who are new to the system, whilst providing other links in order to make their travel easier.

The second feature of this section is its language translator ability. Users can choose which language they want to read the kiosk in. This idea was heavily inspired by the 50 languages rhino poster which was released for Melbourne Trams a few years ago. Many people who visit Melbourne don’t have English as their first language, but this shouldn’t limit their ability to use and understand our public transport. This feature allows users to easily view information and understand it. The frequently asked question tab was really important for the kiosk as it could fill part of the gap that the current Myki sites leave when it comes to quickly find information about Myki.

Part 5 — User Testing

I complete testing to identify what was and wasn’t working for my users. Ultimately usability runs a project like this so it is important to have a range of scenarios for users to complete.

My three scenarios were
Scenario 1
You are a tourist who arrived in Melbourne last night. As today is your first day you are curious about where you should go to Melbourne and what are the number 1 tourist locations. It is a sunny day so you are thinking about seeing what Melbourne’s beaches have to offer. You have also seen photos from friends taken of ‘beach shacks’ one of which had the Australian flag painted on it, but can’t remember where it was taken.

Can you try and find what this beach is called and how to get there?

Participant during user testing

Scenario 2
You now know how to get to the beach but you are unsure of where to get a Myki card and how it works? Can you find out some frequently asked questions about Myki?

Scenario 3
Now that you have found out where to get a Myki it is important you know how to check the balance and top up the Myki. Can you please try to top up your Myki using coins?

Part 6 — Reiteration

Overall my tests went well. All users could complete the scenarios with ease. They all commented on the clarity when completing the task. My feedback mainly involved making links in the FAQ section clearer and treating them like buttons as seen in the places of interest scenario as well as making the journey planner option clearer.

Update of buttons

Part 7 — Evaluation

Overall I’m proud of this project. When I have the time I will really work on creating unison between transport maps, better equipping the plan journey section to suit users needs at well as a few other minor touch-ups.


I think my stand out successful was during testing with the extended situation (scenario 1) in my prototype user testing. All of my users identified this as the thing they remembered most from the testing. I think the back story to the scenario as well as the actual part of the kiosk they were being tested on played major roles in this success.

I also believe my primary surveys were really successful. I was able to collect a range of quantitative and qualitative data and this really helped to form my project.

Overall I was happy with the feel of my Kiosk. It was friendly and inviting to users.


The major challenges for me in this project was the focus. I feel like my attention span during this project period has been particularly bad. Keeping on task was often a task in itself.

Other challenges for me were really around creating the actual prototype. I think It would have been beneficial before moving onto the high fidelity prototype if I had spent more time on creating a full paper one. I was just stressed with time but I could have nailed out the screen flow better at this stage, making my future workflow more efficient.

Other than this I need to focus on my time management. While it wasn’t a major issue in this class due to the structure of each session I need to be wary of it.

Future Projects

I think the clear point of this project came when I outlined each part of the brief, what was involved, how long it should take and when we were going to complete it. This breakdown really helped me to understand exactly what was going on, so my first recommendation for future projects would be to do this.

My second recommendation would be to consider building my prototype in Adobe’s new Experience Design program. Photoshop files with so many image layers are huge. I would think a better quality computer might have struggled with handling the files I had created. This was a major time waste of time in my project.

My third recommendation would be to look more at what visuals Myki and other clients are currently using. I don’t think I did a good job of creating my journey planner. There was some great content already out there in their current applications but I overlooked using it as inspiration.



Jessie Newton

Jessie Newton is a problem solver, thinker and explorer. She currently works on User Experience and graphic design projects.