Mr Schauer, would you like to begin by briefly describing your role at Austrian Federal Railways?
Gladly. I have worked for Österreichische Bundesbahnen Personenverkehr AG (ÖBB – Austrian Federal Railways) since 1988. In 2004, I moved to our head office in Innsbruck, where I am responsible for knowledge management. My main role is as editor-in-chief of our sales information system – the VIS.
What’s the VIS all about?
The VIS is an internal information portal within ÖBB for use by our colleagues on the ticket desks, in the Customer Service team and ticket collectors on the trains. The VIS contains up-to-the-minute timetable and pricing information. Since 2004, we have managed all the content in VIS using SCHEMA ST4.
These days, my focus is primarily on the smooth flow of information and the targeted ongoing development of the VIS.
Targeted ongoing development – that leads me in to asking you about the quiz you have developed for your sales information system. How did the idea for it come about?
As you know, ÖBB offers a wide range of products, services and tariffs. These change frequently, and then there are offers from our partners too, such as railway operators from other countries.
That’s good for our customers. But, for our staff members it means quite a lot of time spent learning what can be rather tedious facts and figures.
We were thinking about how we can support our colleagues and make this task more enjoyable, so that you pick up the most important information almost without realising it; users would immediately see any gaps in their knowledge and could then put that right.
Gamification gave us a great point of departure, to make learning more accessible and fun. In the end, we came up with the idea of building a quiz around our sales information system.
You did it in SCHEMA ST4. Were other tools discussed?
Yes, of course, we looked at other solutions as well. There are loads of specialist solutions on the market. But we decided they weren’t really what we were looking for, because it would have been more difficult to integrate our existing content. It was also important for us that any format or media could be integrated into the quiz, such as videos. Another factor, of course, was that we didn’t have the time or energy to put into getting used to a new software solution.
That’s why the thoughts in the room quickly turned to the idea of using SCHEMA ST4 as the source for the quiz. However, we were not sure whether this could be done with the standard system. We then spoke to our service provider doctima, who showed us a very convincing solution for how this could be achieved.
So, what does it look like now?
It was important for us that the quiz should seamlessly integrate into the VIS and into our CI. People should not have to put a lot of effort in to learn how it works before doing the quiz. That’s why good usability was very important to us. On the other hand, the whole thing should be enjoyable too, user experience is what it’s all about. Together with doctima, we have given these two aspects a lot of hard thought.
What we have ended up with is a really useful system – for our colleagues as users and for us as editors. As the editors, we can freely formulate the questions and relevant answers in ST4 itself in the form of classified components. We will then use this to put together a quiz using drag and drop. Clearly, we can also manage and populate several quizzes at the same time.
For the quiz participants, it goes like this: you start by opening the quiz in the VIS. For each question, you decide what you think is the answer and then you get instant feedback on whether the answer is correct. At the end of the quiz you are shown an analysis of your results that contains links. If you got some answers wrong, you can open the relevant information pages in the VIS by clicking or tapping on the link with your finger.
One small detail that derives from the gamification approach: as you progress through the quiz, a status indicator in the form of a red ÖBB train shows you how many questions you have answered. The train tracks across the top of the page from left to right – all against an Alpine backdrop, of course.
What was the biggest challenge for this project?
Technically speaking, I can only comment to a limited extent, since our service provider doctima took care of that for us. We made good headway on the project and it mostly went to plan. Creating a quiz is quite easy when you know how to work with ST4.
And what do the users have to say about your quiz?
We’ve already introduced the quiz internally – and the feedback has been very positive. Now we are on the verge of rolling it out, following which 2,000+ employees will be able to use it to help them stay up to date with relevant facts and information. That’s 600 people on the ticket desks in our train stations, 200 at the ÖBB Customer Service call centre and another 1,300 ticket collectors on the trains. We are really excited to see how it’s received.
Let me wish you every success with the rollout. Thank you for talking to us.
You’re very welcome.