renfeticket app: ux case study


The Context and the Challenge.

I’ve been living in Madrid since February 2017. I left my house in Alicante with my partner and two wonderful cats behind. So, I had no doubt: every two weekends I had to travel to Alicante to visit them. And I knew it: I’m going to take trains several times (Renfe trains in my case).

Renfe is the Spanish national railway network. You cannot travel by train in Spain without taking a Renfe train. I've always had a lot of problems buying tickets in its website. Sometimes because the website was off, because the pay method was finally wrong, because “your time has expired”, “there is no connection”, and other million reasons more… I got totally mad.

Talking about its mobile app, called RenfeTicket, I noticed some trouble with it. The ticket buying process is long and not very convenient. So I thought, how can I make RenfeTicket usage faster and more usable?

I decided to spend part of my time trying to understand how RenfeTicket works and trying to improve its user experience. 

I had the following goals:

  1. Analyze the current process and define pain points.
  2. Find solutions to make using RenfeTicket more convenient.
  3. Improve my research, analysis and prototype skills.

This work is purely based on my own research and my personal usage of RenfeTicket App (version: v1.6.17).


Current State Analysis.

Renfe has different mobile Apps: 

  • RenfeTicket: this one is the official app. You can buy tickets and manage your trips.
  • Cercanías: just to check the timetables of this kind of trains (suburban trains). You can’t buy any ticket.
  • PlayRenfe: an app that allows you to watch audiovisual content (music, tv series, films…) after login with your Renfe number ticket and your ID.

Too many apps, don’t you think?

Here you have the three apps by Renfe

Here you have the three apps by Renfe

RenfeTicket was launched on January 2014 and it did it already with lot of problems. As I’ve could seen on Google Play, the app has lots of bad reviews because users can’t reach the first goal: buy a simple ticket. 

Houston, we have a problem.


User goals. Persona.

I created a provisional persona to understand who is the potential user of Renfe. A little background:



Job Stories.

In order to explore different contexts in which a user would use RenfeTicket and to understand their motivation and desired outcome, I created the following job stories: 



My next step was to review and sort my insights so I used affinity mapping to identify pain points.