Re-designing Canada’s railway.


Heuristic Evaluation

1 Week


Sarah Kennedy

When asked which application we thought most needed a makeover, our immediate thought was Via Rail. We use this app all the time to keep track of trips, upcoming trains etc. It's interface is confusing and you need to play with it a few times in order to understand what different components mean. There are areas where content is unclear or buttons don't do what you expect them to do. It's for all of these reasons that we thought the Via Rail app could use a makeover.

We started by conducting a heuristic evaluation on the current Via Rail App in hopes that it would show us exactly what areas of the app need work to improve usability.

Original Design




1 Logo positioning is strange and unnecessary

2 Helper text looks like text that been typed

3 Helper text disappears when you start inputting information

4 There’s no ability to get help retrieving your username

5 You can’t actually continue as a guest or create profile (why have this option?)

6 “App Version 1.8” is unnecessary and confusing

7 Touchspots are really small

8 Plus button in the top right is confusing

9 “Upcoming” has pagenation while “Completed” and “Cancelled” is scrolling

10 The picture is just repeating the information below and doesn’t seem to serve purpose

11 Hierarchy of text is confusing

12 Usability has been sacrificed for design

13 Confusing language is used - “get your boarding pass”

14 No helper text is given except for “add” which is confusing




Visibility of System Status


Match between system and real world


User Control and Freedom


Consistency and Standards



Error Prevention


Flexibility and Efficiency of User


Recognition Rather than Recall


Aesthetic and Minimalist Design



Help and Documentation


Help users Recognize, Diagnose and Recover from Error



Total Score




1 Added titles above text inputs with helper text inside.

2 Created a way for users to retrieve username.

3 Used just one logo, large, centered and easy to read.

4 Removed "App version 1.8" not seen

5 Removed "Continue as guest" option not seen

6 Rephrased "Create profile" to "Create account"

7 Made "Create account" call-to-action button while maintaining noticeablity for the "Sign In" button by using the accent yellow and placing it on the right.

8 Removed segmented tab bar with "Completed" and "Cancelled" trips. not seen

9 Created a navigation bar along the bottom.

10 Made all upcoming tickets available by scrolling. 

11 Rearranged hierarchy of information by prioritizing train destinations and departures as well as times.

12 Removed "+" button in the top corner. not seen

13 Made QR code readily available for quick and easy boarding.

14 Added simple account information for passengers to quickly look over their membership status and point collection.

15 Rephrased "Get your trip and boarding pass" to "Add a booked trip".

16 Removed "+" button and pop-up function by moving "Add booked trip" section to home screen.

17 Changed helper text from "add" to confirmation number example.

18 Added a "what's this?" button for further information.