Urban Navigation Supercharged – With Viktor Eperjesy | 🎧 Design Aloud

In this episode, we have a conversation with Viktor Eperjesy, Innovation Portfolio lead at Supercharge. With a background in Business Administration, Management, and Leadership, he has vast experience as a Business consultant, Product strategist, and now as an Innovation Portfolio Lead. With his help, in this episode, we delve into the creation of Budapest GO, a game-changer application for public transport in Budapest.

Innovation is not something completely brand new. It’s something, an idea that may be repurposed from one domain to another.”


Design Aloud Podcast | Season 03 Episode 04

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Episode details

🔍 Viktor Eperjesy has vast experience as a Business consultant, Product strategist, and now as an Innovation Portfolio Lead. He’s worked with clients in banking, insurance, mobility, and logistics, with a notable project being the Budapest GO initiative with BKK (Center of Budapest Public Transport). 

In this conversation with him, listeners can learn:

  1. The importance of business knowledge for designers, highlighting that it can help them influence strategic decisions and articulate the value and potential return of certain design features to stakeholders.
  2. The Budapest GO project. From start to finish. The Challenges faced, specifically about the detailed insights and learnings from the 50 user interviews conducted, discussing how this data helped shape the core design and functionalities across the app in a user-centric manner.

There are a lot of good designers out there. They can create really nice looking screens that are user friendly […] But if you’re building on top of that some business knowledge, and you’re able to think with the head of business stakeholders, that’s a way to differentiate yourself .”



Karthik: [00:00:00] Hello, folks. Hope you’re doing well. Today we have Victor with us. Welcome to UX studio. I’m really glad to have you here. I’m really happy that you said yes to this podcast. I’m really excited for the conversation that we’re going to have today.

For the listeners out there, can you give a brief introduction for us. 

Viktor: Sure. And thank you for the invitation. So my name is Victor Eperjesy. I work as an innovation portfolio lead at Supercharge. I’ve been doing this for 3.5 years and during this 3.5 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a lot of projects where we built amazing products in different industries.

So I’ve had projects in banking, insurance, mobility and logistics, and I think the most notable and most interesting one is Budapest Go, which I’m going to talk about today. And I hope it’s going to be valuable for you and your audience. Originally, I do have a business [00:01:00] background, so I went to the Corvinus University of Budapest, where I studied business administration and then later on management and leadership.

Then later on, I did some management and digital consulting as well. And then from there, I switched to design. You know, I’m going to talk about that, why that change happened, but basically what I do as of today is I help our clients to explore new ways to grow new product strategies, formulate product goals and product vision, and I also help shape the scope of the product. So there’s that element of strategic thinking in there.

But there are also different responsibilities that I have. I also support our sales team. I help understand early on what our clients need in terms of design. Should we do research? What type of research should we do? Should we do an art direction? So that’s another hat that I wear. [00:02:00]

And I also allocate a portion of my time to practical product design. And I still, as of today, do some designs. And the reason being that it helps me maintain a pragmatic perspective. And also stay closely connected with UX and technology trends. So that’s really useful.

And as part of the job when I talk with our clients about product strategy and product goals, I usually do a lot of workshops. And these structured workshops are where we actually delve into these topics. They serve as a platform for collaborative exploration and decision making.

So basically that’s what I do. I wear a lot of hats. I combine strategic thinking, collaborative workshops, and also hands on product design to drive innovation forward. 

Karthik: That’s amazing. That’s a great introduction. That’s a lot of hats to wear and maybe not this podcast, but maybe in the next one [00:03:00] we can talk about how you manage your time and creative energies because it does sound a lot. I’m happy that you do all of these things and I’m quite curious to learn more about this, especially strategic thinking because back in last winter actually UX studio had this objective of building our own strategic thinking. And it was a really good workshop for us and also an exercise for us.

And I think it’s very valuable when you want to combine business and design. How did you get into the mindset of becoming a strategist or innovator from being a business consultant? And do you think these two things are different? 

Viktor: Yeah. There are some differences. So for me, the motivation I think always have been even when I started business consulting is that, you know, I want to build new things. I want to contribute to building new things, not just operate [00:04:00] existing stuff.

And that there was a source of motivation and of course you can also continue contribute to that as a business consultant or a digital consultant. But your output is usually some kind of presentation and in implementation you’re usually not involved. It’s not even sure if what you recommended will be implemented.

So that’s a question. And that made it feel a bit too abstract for me. So I was kind of missing the tangible results of my work because in product design, when you’re building products, the result is so tangible. It’s, you know, you build something, you put it out there and people can actually use it.

And, and it’s just such a joy to see that, you know, people are all enjoying your product. They’re using it. It makes their life easier and more comfortable. So it’s a really great feeling. Yeah. So maybe the difference is I think the main [00:05:00] difference between like business consultancy and innovation strategies that with innovation, you’re you’re focused on growth, not on efficiency.

So you want to explore new areas, how we can grow with a new service with a new product with a new feature. So you’re looking for areas of growth. That’s one key difference as I see. And the other difference I see is that with business there is a strong focus on existing solutions and business outcomes, but there is less focus on the customer point of view, right?

While as an innovation strategist you have the customer in the forefront of your mind. So, I think the focus is a bit different. Both want to achieve similar things. So you wanna drive the business forward, you want to grow, but in some cases in business consulting, you also go in the other direction where you want to cut costs and make something more efficient.

And that’s also [00:06:00] something that’s necessary and has its value. But for me it’s more exciting to create something new and achieve growth through that way. 

Karthik: Amazing. Let’s move on to the highlight of this podcast, I would say BKK.

So do you want , to give the listeners an introduction of what BKK is and what this project means to Supercharge and you? 

Viktor: Yeah, sure. Happy to. Yeah. Okay. So, I’m going to say a few words about BKK itself. Then I’m going to also talk about the the application.

So BKK, if you translate it’s an acronym, and it means that Center for Budapest Transport. And this is the organization that’s responsible for coordinating the public transport within Budapest. So all of the buses, trams, metros all that kind of stuff, and they are also the one that, you know, examine the traveling patterns and needs of the travelers of the [00:07:00] people who are using public transport. And they are also the ones that are making sure that the quality of the vehicle is up to standards.

And their mission as BKK is really to make the city more sustainable. And for that, you need, you know, high-quality buses, you need a good network of public transport vehicles. So that’s the physical part of that, but there’s also a digital element to that. You need an application that’s easy to use, and that’s gonna make the usage of public transport easier, more comfortable.

And that is what Budapest GO is. So they used to have an application before that. It was called Futár, and that was already a proper application. But they wanted to take it to the next level. And that’s when we redesigned and expanded the application.

And as of today, Budapest GO, so what it entails, it’s a public transportation app, so you can [00:08:00] get real time vehicle information. That means that you can check out that in any stop within Budapest when do buses, trams, and different modes of transport, when do they arrive. You can even do that now for trains and regional buses as well, which is really great for commuters, for example. You can also plan your journey, so you can find the best ways from A to B, just like with Google Maps, and you can also buy tickets and passes digitally. And you can also get traffic alerts, meaning that, you know, you can get notified right away if something happens, like if there is an accident or construction on the line that you are usually using.

So you can set up your preferences. So these are the core functionalities that the app has. 

Karthik: That’s amazing. Yeah, I must say that since I came here, it’s been a delight to use the public transportation system. I’ve been to a couple of [00:09:00] other European cities and so far, I feel like Budapest is the best. So yeah. How did this project begin and what was the setup like?

Viktor: So if you go back a few years the public transport of Budapest was already at a really high quality, especially in terms of density. Like you could really get to any point of Budapest virtually with public transport and even if you had a night out you could get home easily, which is not necessarily a case in every city. So, for example, I was in Dublin in 2017, and there, if you had a night out, you couldn’t really use public transport to get home.

So I think Budapest is really good at that and has been historically. But there was room for improvement in two areas.

So one of them is the quality of the vehicles, and the other is the digital services. And BKK [00:10:00] actually decided to focus on both of these issues.

If you look at the quality of vehicles, they have really improved throughout the years. I don’t have the numbers, but they did a lot of procurements, and you can see that now the buses and trams are getting really nice.

And on the digital side, Budapest Go was the flagship project, and the aim was there to create a distinctive user experience. And so before Budapest Go came into existence the experience was quite fragmented.

So, if you wanted to have real-time vehicle information about bus arrivals, and if you wanted to do journey planning, then you needed to use Futár. So there was an app for that. Right. If you wanted to use digital ticketing, there was an app called Mobility Edge or you could also use OTP simple. And if you wanted to have traffic alerts, then you needed to use another app called BKK info, where you could have those.

[00:11:00] So there were three different apps, which are all essential for an average traveler who is using public transport. And they had different UX and UI. You need to download all three of them, register for all three of them. So it was, you know, that’s annoying. That’s annoying. So, merging these and streamlining the functionality was a good starting point definitely. And this was a huge undertaking, so it involved multiple partners.

So, Supercharge did the design and front-end development. Real City was the one who did the real-time vehicle information and journey planning back-end, and the systems was the one who did the digital ticketing back-end and coordinated the project. And also from BKK, you know, a lot of people’s and other external partners. 

Karthik: That’s amazing. A lot of nice groups coming together to build something really, really useful. I [00:12:00] mean, I cannot imagine the amount of happiness I would feel if I did this project and to see people actually use it. And it’s really useful.

I mean, it makes people’s lives much easier. And it goes back to the point at the start, when you said the outcome, tangible outcomes and the fact that you can actually see it, it’s something really rewarding. 

Viktor: Yeah, it is. And you know, the fact that even your friends are using it and, you know, giving feedback that they like it, enjoy it.

So that’s really a great feeling. 

Karthik: So with all of these teams coming together, how did you manage to have the discovery phase and the research phase? It must have been like super huge with a lot of customer base. How do you tackle all this? 

Viktor: Yeah, I’m going to tell a bit about how do we usually tackle this kind of project at Supercharge.

So what was important here, and of course with any project, is [00:13:00] the alignment with business goals. And BKK already has a strategy in place. So, there is a document called BKK Strategy 2025. Okay. And there is also what’s called the Budapest mobility plan. So there are some goals, you know, high-level goals that are determined there.

And, you know, whatever we’re building should be in alignment with those goals. So that was something we discussed early on in the discovery phase as well. And the discoveries that we do are usually led by our innovation consultants or product strategists. They are the ones who are organizing these workshops and focusing on different topics that need to be resolved in this strategic phase.

And so product searches and innovation consultants, manage the discovery, and they do high-level wireframes. So they do grayscale wireframes, right? They are pretty detailed wireframes, but [00:14:00] they don’t do the colored, you know, pixel-perfect version. So this is when a handover happens to our UI designers, and they are the ones who are responsible for the aesthetic of the product.

So they are the ones who are actually creating the final pixel-perfect screens. And yeah, there is a reason behind this division. It might be, you know, strange because in a lot of cases, UX, UI is one role and we separated them out. But our experience at Supercharged was that managing the discovery, discussing these high-level questions, and creating the wireframes takes a bit different kind of skill set and then, then doing the UIs.

So, in the discovery and wireframing, the core skills are kind of like a structured way of thinking, being a bit analytical, understanding all of the factors at play, and what the client wants. It’s also super important that you are a good communicator. You’re able to [00:15:00] influence clients. You can convey your thoughts because a big part of the, you know, also design job and discovery job is convincing people and influencing people. So that’s a key element. And the third key skill that our product strategists have is empathy. So, being able to empathize with the user and look at the word from their perspective.

And regarding UI what you really need is kind of like an artistic sense. Like a sense for beauty and being able to create nice screens. And it’s a bit different. It’s similar, I think, like in software development back in the days, full stack development was quite common, but these days now they separate front and then back end.

And I see this division the same way. That you need a bit different skills in UX than UI. And even if you are a UX/UI designer, you probably have a stronger side. So you may be stronger in UX or maybe stronger in UI. [00:16:00]

Karthik: Yeah, yeah, I completely agree that it’s a different mindset and you basically need to have two people working if you are in the same role.

Viktor: I would also mention a few things about how we did user testing because I think that could be interesting. So, the scope was quite clear, and what we wanted to achieve in the first version. So, we were more curious about the usability. So, how the wireframes that we created, how usable they are. And we did actually user tests quite a lot.

So we did have 50 interviews overall and 10 per batch. And yeah, that’s a lot. But we learned a lot actually from all of those and we incorporated all of their learnings into designs. And even though, you know, these were in-depth qualitative interviews. So we were focusing on understanding, you know, what’s the experience like for the users. And [00:17:00] also we did ask questions about their existing habits and anxieties and pain points. So there were some element of exploratory questions as well.

So it was kind of like a combination of exploratory and usability tests. And, you know, the point of this test is not statistical significance. So it’s not a quantitative test, but we still try to have people with diverse backgrounds because the app’s target audience is so large. So we wanted to have people with different perspectives. So we did have people who were younger, who were older. We did have people who have used digital ticketing before and who only use paper ticketing.

We also had people who lived in the suburbs and people who lived in the city. So this way you could get a, you know, diverse mix of perspectives so that was really good. And as I mentioned, we, did this with the wireframes. So these are grayscale wireframes.

And I think [00:18:00] there is a benefit to doing this test with wireframes because on the one hand, it’s easier to do, so less effort for designers to put together the wireframes and do the testing. And you’re also more willing to change the wireframe because it took less effort to put them together. You are not as emotionally attached. If you have, you know, these colorful, shiny screens, then it’s kind of harder to change. So that’s one benefit.

The other benefit I see with this is that people are more willing to criticize and view they are or share their opinions about the screens. If they look less ready, because you know, they see that this is just a mock-up. While if you’re showing a pixel perfect UI, it feels really like the actual product. So that’s why we like to do this when it comes to functionality. Of course, In some cases, it makes sense to do it with the UIs, and, [00:19:00] if you want to also test the aesthetics, then sure, let’s do it, or the brand, but if you’re interested in functionality, if they are able to find the buttons that you want, if they are understanding the copies, if they, you know, can go through the flow, I think it’s good to do it with wireframes.

Karthik: Yeah, I agree. I totally agree, but one key point I would like to add to this is that: it’s always good to mention that to people, whoever you’re testing it with, that these are mockups and wireframes. These are not final designs.

Because some folks, they just have initial comments of. “What is this design?” But yeah, it’s always good to mention, and I completely agree that it’s easier to modify. I use Axure a lot. Axure is a prototyping tool and we usually test with that, and it’s [00:20:00] a HTML rendering prototype so people can actually type names dates and all these things. So when you actually test these functionalities, they have predefined widgets, so it doesn’t take a lot of effort, like you said. And when people find it difficult to do it, you kind of modify or have two different versions and do an A/B test or things like that.

So it’s Yeah, I completely agree that it takes less effort and the reward is more. 

Viktor: Yeah. And of course these prototypes have limitations, so they cannot access the full functionality. And also it’s, you know, not shiny, not colorful, but still they are close enough to reality that people can imagine what it would be like.

And also you can see the confusion if something is not designed properly, so it’s enough to give you…, 

Karthik: And plus like 50 interviews. I think it’s quite a lot. I think you’ll get a lot of nice insights from that. I was just curious [00:21:00] were the folks that you were testing, were they existing Futár users or new people, like new users? 

Viktor: So some of them were, some of them not. So we try to mix it up. And also the number of interviews, I would say that depends on the project. So like, on the one hand, the feature set, which was also large in case of Budapest Go and also the target audience was pretty broad. So that’s why we did this many.

With a smaller product, like if you’re building a product for a startup, you shouldn’t do that many interviews because it doesn’t make sense. I think you always need to assess like how many features you have and also, you know, what’s the target audience. 

Karthik: Yeah, I agree.

And what did you learn from… what are the major learnings from these user interviews? 

Viktor: Yeah, there were some interesting learnings, that’s for sure. So. What was interesting to see that you know, people have a lot of anxieties when it comes to public [00:22:00] transport.

So, they are worried that, you know, they are not going to make the connection. The bus is not going to come on time. It’s going to be dirty. So there’s all kinds of anxieties, which is understandable because Public transport is not as predictable as your own car. You know what to expect when you are getting in your own car, but when you use public transports, that’s a different story.

It was also interesting to see that in some crucial moments, even one click can be too many. So I’ll give you an example. We have this digital ticketing system, where you need to actually, where you need to scan the Stickers on the side of the vehicles. Yeah, that was something that has been existing before even Budapest Go. But it was interesting to see that, you know, that’s a crucial moment for users and customers because when the bus is coming you need to pull out your phone and point it to the door and people, you know worry that they are not going to be able to [00:23:00] do it. And one or two click is too many, and we really made sure that that crucial flow is really streamlined.

And the way we did it is we created a widget, and from there, basically, with one tap, you can activate this feature. But if you need to go to the app, select the ticket section, then then click on the read, that’s a bit too much because in that crucial moment, you know, people might be on their phone, in the station, they are checking out TikTok or whatever. And then. “Oh, the bus is coming!” You need to quickly pull up your phone. So that’s why it’s a really crucial flow. So this was also interesting to see.

Another interesting part for me was that many people fear cycling. So people like cycling for a hobby. So they do it on a weekend, but they don’t do it for transport. And you know, often the reason is that they are scared of cars, rightfully so, because, [00:24:00] you know, it’s, it’s not pleasant to to cycle next to cars. And that’s,  you know, true in some cases that you’re cycling next to cars, but Budapest has also more and more bicycle paths, so there’s definitely an improvement in that area. But a lot of people don’t know, like, where the cycle routes are and what kind of cycle routes to expect, so is it you know, fully separated bicycle path, is it kind of like a marked bicycle path on the road, or is it just, you know,  there is no bicycle path, just a road.

Yeah. And this is not something you can look in, for example, in Google Maps. So if you plan a bike journey in Google Maps, you’re gonna get a recommendation, but you don’t know what kind of cycling paths you’re gonna ride on. Yeah. And that was one of the things that was also holding back people from taking their bikes because they don’t know what kind of routes they should expect if they go to their friends or if they go to a new place, to a bar.

And that was really [00:25:00] what provided the foundation for a feature that we introduced later on, which is the advanced bike routing feature, which is essentially doing just that. Like, if you plan a route, you can see what kind of… what type of bike roads are going to be there. 

Karthik: Oh, wow. I’ve never used this.

Okay. I need to check it out. Because I always associated Budapest GO with just trams and buses. So I never knew this existed. 

Viktor: Yeah, it’s there. It’s there. When you plan a journey, there is a settings button where you can find this. 

Karthik: Oh, wow. Okay. I’m going to use this because I need this. Yeah, I’ve had a couple of, and my friend also had recently a situation where he was literally 10 meters away from a bus and just most probably getting hit by a bus while he was biking.

So it was a bit scary situation when he mentioned it. Yeah. So yeah, these things are useful to know.[00:26:00] I was just curious how do you observe these? Because there’s something that I spoke with, yeah, Lisa in the first podcast that we had about how do you design for a modern work environment, which basically means how do you design for somebody who has, let’s say, multiple tabs open or let’s say who is watching tik-tok and wants to get on a tram?

Like you said, how do you design for such use cases?

And there’s something very interesting, and I’m glad that you mentioned this because I feel like we need to account a lot of these factors while designing an application right now people are rushing to get into a tram and they need to open the phone app , two tabs and all these things.

So this makes total sense that you came up with this feature of a widget. So that’s amazing. Yeah. So that’s proper case study there. 

Viktor: Yeah. Well, what you can do there is make it really obvious and make it really short. [00:27:00] I think people read a lot less than we imagine. Also, as designers, we tend to, you know, really Fine tune every copy we have, but in reality people really skim through screens and just read the highlights.

Usually, if you have a subtext or a smaller text, that really rarely gets read by users. 

Karthik: So yeah, I think this is where like you mentioned the UI skills or the aesthetic skills also come into place and it’s a different mindset. Were there any other challenges while working on this project?

Viktor: Yeah, yeah, there were definitely some since the app has quite a large target audience. It’s challenging to please everyone because, you know, there are so many different types of people that use the app, you know, some of the people are different. Avid public transport users. So they use public transport actively.

Some of them are even experts. Like there are some people who are really into public transport. They know all the vehicle [00:28:00] types and they do have Facebook groups, where they share all of the info and they are very vocal about their needs. And I think we can get good ideas from them. But what’s challenging is that their needs and requirements are a bit different than the average users, so they require more advanced features.

But at the end of the day, I think Budapest GO’s main goal was to attract as many people as possible for public transport. So what we did there is we always kind of represented the average user. We wanted to make the experience good for the average user, and the average user doesn’t care about, you know, the vehicle types or the different lines.

You just want to get from A to B as fast as possible with minimal disruption. So for most of us, transport is a necessity. It’s not something you do out of enjoyment. And that was, that was interesting, challenging to navigate because you’ll need to, you know, you’ll [00:29:00] need to make I’m not saying all, all of the people happy, but most, because you cannot say that you’re just focusing on this segment because this is a public entity, you know, and public transport is for everyone.

So you cannot say, okay, I’m just going to focus on this niche. We need to kind of cater to everyone. So that was one of the challenges. And the other one is something I already hinted. So, there is some pre-existing physical structure that we need to accommodate. So, for example, this digital scanning of the stickers on the side of the buses.

So that’s how digital passes and tickets work in Budapest. And, you know, some people have criticized this, that this is a bit too cumbersome, which is, which critic has some merit, but this is not something we can change on the short term. So, we need to work with that and we need to find a way to make the best of this.

And I think we managed to introduce some [00:30:00] innovations that, you know, made this whole digital ticketing process easier. So that was another one. Another challenge is that in terms of public transport apps, there is, you know, also now international competition. So there’s Google Maps, which is pretty good.

It’s really good, especially when it comes to journey planning. And of course, these applications are good because these companies have top talent. They have, you know, vast budgets, which a lot of resources, a lot of resources. Yeah, which is not something that public entities have. So, it’s hard to compete with them.

But on the bright side, BKK has a lot of, you know, really great experts and a lot of accumulated knowledge about how people travel here in Budapest and what are their preferences. So I think that led to some really great features that you cannot find in Google Maps. For example, this bike route[00:31:00] feature, advanced bike route planning feature.

And the other one I really like, I don’t know if you’ve used that one, is the planning from vehicle, which means that you know, if you plan your route and you want to check if that’s still the best route when you’re on the vehicle, then, for example, Google Maps doesn’t take into consideration that you’re on the vehicle, so it’s going to plan from point A to point B. And with this, you can actually mark that you are on a specific vehicle, and it will show, you know, the journey time and the elements from there.  So this is a good one. So you can, you can always double check if still the one that you selected the best plan.

So that’s, that’s a cool feature. And maybe one other thing I would mention, there are also some regulatory issues that can come into play. Yeah, I was curious about that. Yeah, [00:32:00] I can give you a small example. For example, if you want to change the name of certain ticket types, because maybe historically they have been called something that’s not so clear what it means.

In some cases, you need to have ministry-level approval. For example, if the ticket is valid for a line that’s operated by VLAN and not BKK, then you need ministry-level approval, which you know, not not an easy thing to get. But you can work around these issues. You can add, you know, additional information boxes and circumvent these issues.

But these pose interesting challenges, you know, you can’t change this, everything like, like this. Sometimes you need to have approvals and it’s not so easy to get, or you cannot even get it. 

Karthik: So what were some of the major features compared to the predecessor Futar and like, what were the, why were they introduced?


Viktor: Yeah, so. A big new feature was digital ticketing and digital passes. So that was a big step forward because that’s not something that Futár was capable of. But what I think really made the experience even better are some added comfort features that we included.

And I can give you some examples there. So, for example, if you buy a monthly pass or any kind of pass, then you will get a reminder before it’s expired. And you can also have a monthly pass subscription, which means that it’s going to automatically renew your pass at the end of the month, which is also a nice comfort feature.

And widget. We already talked about and these all make the kind of like the digital ticketing experience better and they improve it and they kind of draw people towards it because these are features that you cannot get in the [00:34:00] physical world, right? So, no one is going to let you know that your pass is going to expire.

But in the digital world, we can do that. And even though you need to scan this code on the sides of the vehicles, there are these comfort features that make the experience better. So that’s an interesting one. We also changed the structure of route planning, so how the results are displayed, so people can find easier the best route for themselves.

There is also the advanced bike routing feature we already talked about. And we also kept a lot of features from FUTAR and slightly improved upon them, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that it already had some great features. And you know, when you redesign an app, you don’t have to redesign everything, so if something was working well, then there’s no reason to change it, so I think that’s important.

Karthik: That’s a key thing to keep in mind, yeah. Not just redesign the whole thing and frustrate the [00:35:00] users. 

Viktor: Yeah, that’s also important that, you know, we changed the experience, but also kept some elements of it. So people, you know, they are not seeing something entirely new because that can be frustrating.

So if nothing is familiar in an app that’s used by a lot of people that can really enrage people. So I think it was important to keep some elements. And like I said, they were working well, so there was no reason to change them. 

Karthik: And how was this new change received? I mean, I’m assuming that it was a big change for the users.

How was it received? Did you have any analytics or research done there or testing? 

Viktor: Yeah, so from what I gather, the majority of users liked it. So we, of course monitored, you know, Google reviews and what people said on social media and other places. BKK also has some service that investigates the satisfaction of [00:36:00] users.

So I think they like it. But regarding analytics, I think the numbers tell you all that. Within one year there have been 2.2 million downloads and one million monthly active users.

Karthik: That’s amazing.

Viktor: So I think that’s a lot. That’s a good testament of that the app provides value for the people. Yeah. We also have won an IF design award with it. That’s also something I’m proud of. 

Karthik: Congratulations for that. Yeah. Thank you. I was so happy to see that. 

Viktor: Yeah, so, of course, there were some improvements that were needed. There were some initial stuff. For example, it was interesting to learn, and this goes back to what I mentioned, one extra click can matter a lot.

So, we do have that feature with tickets and passes that you can show your code to an inspector staff. I don’t know if you know that feature. Initially, when we released this, this was in the [00:37:00] details of the ticket, so you needed to tap twice to access this, and that was annoying for some people, and they wanted to have it on the ticket itself.

So right now we replaced it to the top right so you can access it with one click and that’s again an example like how one click can be too much in some context. And to be honest, it was also annoying me as a user because whenever I got off the metro and I heard that, you know, there are going to be inspection staff at the exit, I needed to double click to access that feature and it was loading.

So I’m happy that we changed that. And there are some other key points that still need to be addressed. So one of the big one is that the block of 10 tickets  is not available, which have a discounted price if you buy it on machine or in a “kassza”. And the other one is the Apple Pay and Google Pay.

So that’s not available [00:38:00] and these are well known issues. So we also know about them. BKK knows about it, but they do largely depend on external partners, but I’m hopeful that they’re going to be resolved in the near future.  

Karthik: What was the launch like, and do you have any learnings? You already mentioned some, but what was the launch like? 

Viktor: Yeah, that’s, it was definitely a unique launch.

It was a really, really public one. You know, BKK put out a lot of ads in the stations. You know, you could see them hinting about these new ads. And there was also an official, official event organized by BKK, where the CEO of BKK spoke about this, you know, new app. There was also the media.

So that’s amazing. So this was a really big public launch, which of course puts some stress on us. But fortunately, the launch went well. So, the app was well received. Yeah, there were some minor bugs which have been [00:39:00] fixed since then. So overall, I think it went great. Yeah. Maybe one other interesting learning from the analytics, and this is something we also addressed, is that you know, people were scanning their monthly pass all the time, which they shouldn’t have to because a monthly pass is analogous to a physical pass. So you should only take out your phone and scan a sticker if you’re onboarding a front door-only vehicle where the driver checks your pass or if you’re entering a metro station where there’s the ticket inspection staff.

So that’s, that’s the two use cases when you need to scan a monthly pass. But people were scanning it even if they onboarded a tram where there was no inspection staff, which didn’t make sense. And, of course, it bothered them. Like why do I need to scan this?

And they didn’t know that they didn’t have to. And of course, it’s not their fault. So it’s not the users fault. We needed to do a better job of telling [00:40:00] people when to use the tickets. So there’s this element of education. And what we did there? So, if you now open the app, maybe you have seen it, that there is this kind of information bar on top of tickets that tells you when you should scan that certain ticket type. So, depending on whether you have a monthly pass or single ticket or time-based, that now helps people to understand this, and there is no one… there’s less unnecessary scanning. 

Karthik: Absolutely. These little nudges definitely help. Yeah.

And let’s, let’s talk about the new or the recent feature, let’s say, about the NFC that was rolled out, I think, three-four weeks back.  How did this start? And, what was the reason? And how is it? 

Viktor: Mm hmm. Yeah, so. As I mentioned, and we discussed that, you know, when the bus is arriving and you need to scan the [00:41:00] sticker, that’s kind of a crucial moment, and it’s a moment that causes some anxiety for people. And we wanted to reduce the friction there. And pointing the camera has been, you know, a pain point, so we thought that an easier way to do this would be just tapping your phone against the sticker, which is like a similar interaction. You also do this form when, when you pay, for example, in a shop. So, the idea was there to streamline a bit that experience, the scanning experience, provide an alternative that might be easier for people. And that was really the motivation for doing that.

And yeah, that was an interesting feature to design because there weren’t really a lot of screens that we needed to design. It was rather about the logic, like how it would work because there are a lot of different ticket types that you can buy in Budapest Go. And we [00:42:00] we wanted to automate the experience as much as possible.

So, if you tap against the sticker, we wanted to make sure that it automatically validates the ticket that makes sense in that scenario, but sometimes you need to make a choice as a user. So if you have two different ticket types, let’s say a single ticket and a 30-minute ticket, then we don’t know which one you want to use.

So you need to indicate that. But we wanted to automate the experience as much as possible, and it was an interesting exercise to think through all of the use cases and edge cases. So, yeah, that was a challenge. 

Karthik: Yeah yeah, speaking right from the start about this project and eventually talking about this feels like a proper exercise that was done well.

Yeah, because you mentioned about the pain points of having to scan, the anxieties and the fact that you provided an alternative solution. It’s amazing. And a couple [00:43:00] of folks from UX Studio use this, and they were super happy about this. So yeah, that’s a really good feature, I would say.

Viktor: Glad to hear.

Karhtik: Yeah. I mean, they’re, they’re happy about it.

This leads me to our next set of questions about innovation and how we can incorporate as designers this mindset of innovation and strategic thinking. And like we mentioned, to break an ecosystem or to break an industry standard.

Viktor: Yes. So, I think that the best way to start is always with the users, you know, understanding what are some pain points. You know, we already discussed user research. You can understand a lot about their context, and I think what’s important about the user test is that you’re looking for problems to solve, but you’re not expecting the solution from the people you’re testing with.

They [00:44:00] might have ideas how to solve it, but If you’re brainstorming as a designer, you probably can can come up with something better because that’s your job. Yeah. And so, we shouldn’t expect users to provide us with the solution. And I think that’s an important one, like immersing yourself in the world of the user and what are their pain points.

“What’s important about the user test is that you’re looking for problems to solve, but you’re not expecting the solution from the people you’re testing with. They might have ideas how to solve it, but If you’re brainstorming as a designer, you probably can come up with something better because that’s your job.”

And the other one I think is important, is benchmarking and seeing what others do because in a lot of cases, innovation is not something completely brand new. It’s something, an idea that may be repurposed from one domain to another. And I think it’s always good to benchmark. But people, I think people often benchmark too narrowly just within the industry or the same category of the app.

I would encourage people to do it a bit wider. So look at adjacent industries or even seemingly distinct industries. They might have similar solutions because there you might find [00:45:00] analogies or solutions that can be applied in your context as well. And if you think about it, like innovation is really often the import-export of ideas….

So. Let’s take an example. For example, there’s Uber which launched back then. And, you know, it inspired a lot of other startups with the similar business model and the business logic. There’s TaskRabbit or Instacart, which do operate on the same business model.

So like, solutions in one area can be repurposed in another. The important thing there is to think about how your challenge and how your customers are different than the one where you’re getting the original idea from, so you might need to fine-tune it, tweak it. Not just copy blindlessly. But I think that’s important to look at why. And for example, sometimes I don’t know if you know the website Marvin. That’s a great website. Sometimes I just look at their [00:46:00] new apps. What do they do? Like what kind of features do they have?

What kind of solutions do they have? Like randomly. So I’m not specifically focusing on anything, but if it gives you some good ideas, “okay, this is an interesting solution”, it might be, you know, it might be a pharmaceutical app or whatever, but still you can, you can connect it to your challenge or to your app.

Karthik: Absolutely. Yeah, I completely agree. And I also kind of think in a way that a lot of people think innovation means something completely new. I feel like there’s nothing completely new in this world. Everything is repurposed information, one way or the other. Even dating back to the ancient times. So it’s all repurposed, but the way that you can use it to your own domain and your own audience makes more sense.

The points that you mentioned and also the other points of even cultural differences. For example, Uber can [00:47:00] work in US, but might not work in China. So Yeah. You can repurpose that in a way where you can address for the local market. So yeah, that’s also innovation I feel. 

Viktor: Yeah. Look at WeChat: it’ completely different approach from what we have in Europe. So it basically includes so many features, but here in Europe, we do have specialized apps. Even though some companies are now trying to build super apps. But I’m not sure if that model is gonna work here.

I’m curious to see. 

Karthik: Yeah. Hyper-local and e-commerce within communications kind of work and mostly in Eastern markets. Because I think the mindset is that I want to use a lot of things in one app and yeah, just squeeze out everything within one thing. I think that’s the mindset there and specializations or having special apps for special purposes I think it’s much [00:48:00] more Western, which is fine. And I think to address that market and mindset is the key.

Yeah. This brings me to the next question of what is the value of business knowledge for designers? Because innovation requires understanding the business aspect as well. So what value does it bring to designers?

Viktor: Yeah. I believe that it can help you greatly if you’re a designer, because if you’re, let’s assume you are a UX/UI designer, and I think that’s a profession that’s getting more popular as well, but also becoming more and more commoditized, like it’s something that there are a lot of good designers out there. They can create really nice looking screens and screens that are user friendly, and that’s, that’s becoming more and more common.

But if you’re building on top of that some business knowledge, and you’re able to think with the head of business stakeholders, I think [00:49:00] that’s a way to differentiate yourself and, and position yourself above the pack.  And once you have that skill set, once you kind of understand that way of thinking and how business people also speak or high-level stakeholders, how they think, then you’re able to influence them.

And that can be really important from the perspective of your product, because if you think about it, like everything is downstream from the strategic decisions. So whatever gets decided at the top, it’s going to affect you, and you might not like it. And if you’re not able to contribute or influence these decisions, then you’re always at the whim of those people.

So I believe that’s why it’s a really useful skill to have. And especially now. In these times when the economy is a bit slower. Businesses are even more careful what they invest money in and also when it comes to their product. [00:50:00] So you’ll need to be really able to articulate what’s going to be the value, the business benefits that this new feature is going to provide. It’s not enough in itself to say that it’s going to be good for the users.

Let’s say you want to introduce a gamification element to your loyalty program, then you’ll, you’ll need to be able to express how this gonna, you know, generate more sales, how this gonna increase cross-selling, how this gonna, you know, increase brand reputation.

So you, you’ll need to be able to think in those terms. I think that’s important. 

Karthik: Absolutely. And Yeah, as an agency, at least I think it’s good to be more of a consultant rather than just a designer because essentially you’re negotiating with the stakeholders in a way, and it’s always good to be on the good side or the winning side, even if it means sacrificing a bit of time or certain resources.

I [00:51:00] think it’s good. But my next question is, how does one improve their business acumen or knowledge? 

Viktor: Yeah, so the good news is that the basic concepts can be, I think, easily learned. A lot of businesses I’m not saying it’s common sense, but it’s something that you know, it’s not hard to read. It’s not like learning coding. I think these concepts and frameworks are relatively easy to learn.

I mentioned that I love stories and case studies, and for me, those work well. If you are a designer, I think you could focus on business design, which is kind of like an emerging discipline that is at the kind of like the cross-section of business and design.

It basically means that you apply design frameworks and tools for business problems and challenges. If you want to read about that, there is a site that has a really good kind of summary. It’s called d.mba There’s a good summary [00:52:00] and there are also some great readings that are recommended.

If you like to read, there are some classic books you can read, like the Lean Startup, the Blue Russian Strategy, Innovator’s Dilemma. I think these are all, all great books. I also like a site called Four Week MBA, and they have examples of real life companies and their business models, and they explain in great detail how they work.

That’s nice, yeah. That’s also a good one. I mentioned earlier that I like Harvard Business Review. They also get good Case Studies and Y-Combinator videos. Yeah, I personally like this kind of like story based learning. 

Karthik: Yeah, I think it’s easier to relate and apply as well. To the listeners, I think we’ll link all these amazing sites and articles in the description.

Viktor, my next question is, how can you benefit from your design background when discussing business-related questions? 

Viktor: Yeah, [00:53:00] it might be frightening at first you know, to learn business, especially if you have met maybe business consultants with their suits and with their MBAs and with their strong educational background.

But like I said, I think the basics can be learned fairly rapidly, and I think as a designer, you do have an advantage, and that’s because…. so one of the things I think business schools and business thinking tend to miss is basically this: they focus on business outcomes and operations, but the customer is less in the focus.

And as a designer, like, thinking about the customer, empathizing with them is second nature to you. So that’s one adventure. Because, you know, these days, every company must be, you know, user centric if they want to survive and succeed. And the other one I observed in business thinking is that you often [00:54:00] focused on existing solutions and reusing existing solution, but they don’t, they don’t want to deviate from what has worked so far.

And since they are not focusing on the customer, they are not thinking creatively as much. And as a designers, you can really focus on customer problems and understand pain points, context, and you can bring, I think, more creative solutions by applying this kind of design thinking mindset and really understanding the problem and coming up with something new rather than, you know, just looking at the next benchmark.

So I think those are two advantages that you can have as designer. And, you know, if you inject these, these kind of design tools into the business thinking, that’s something, that’s quite powerful, and it’s different from what business consultants do.

So it’s a, I would say it’s a good way of differentiation.

Karthik: [00:55:00] It’s a powerful alchemy. Yeah, I agree. So, yeah, those were my questions for you. I have to be honest. This was completely useful. I really learned about the whole process and the way you approach a problem.

And I also learned about business and design and how these two can be a powerful combination. So yeah, thank you so much, Victor, for joining us. It’s been a pleasure. 

Viktor: Thank you for the invitation. It’s been great Cheers



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Design Aloud is a podcast hosted by UX studio. Through this podcast, our goal is to spotlight UX and other disciplines that emphasise people and their needs in the realm of design.

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