Sabrina Schmahl

February 2020

New York City Subway App



  • UI Design
  • UX/UI
  • User Research
  • UX Design
  • UX/UI



The New York city subway would like to implement a new mobile ticketing system in a new user-centric app. In this challenge we should find out a solution with the following features: way finding, ticket redemption, ticket purchase and add payment options.


The more heterogeneous mobility behaviour is, the more functions are required. These dimensions go all the way up: sharing tickets, customized push notifications before departure, automatic alternatives in case of failure. In contrast to this the users who simply want to buy a ticket.


The solution include a concept that works fast and easy for the „on the go New Yorker“ and is as individual as possible for the „out of Towner“. By collecting a lot of information in the onboarding, processes could be designed easy and fast at the end of planning a route or buying a ticket.


First of all I started reading about the New York subway system. Twitter posts got me big first impression. So trying to go into a deep user research, I analyzed the app store evaluations of the current two MTA apps. I discovered two different types of persons - „on the go New Yorker“ and „out of Towner“. Persona1 describes unexpected delays, service changes and breakdowns without detailed information. They need early information about changes, so that they can plan their day as efficient as possible. The ticket app is too slow to make a quick ticket redemption and has a lot of bugs according adding bank accounts. The „out of Towner“ is not familiar with the subway system and needs more information about platforms, entrances and finding the right way. But they bring more time to figure out the right way, as they are mainly in town for sightseeing. After defining the two persona, I started to think about solutions and new features and did first wireframes and a user flow map.

Design System

After checking some successful mobility apps like the BVG from Berlin, Uber and Seoul metro app, I decided to make a proper onboarding with questions about general settings like mail adress, age, push notification and bank account. Afterwards the app should start with a map which include a live location service and an automatic selection for the closest subway station. While selecting the right route, the system will recommend a suitable ticket to the route, so that the user can directly buy the ticket and start his/her journey. Overall the concept include five menu points: finding routes, your tickets, ticket shop, favourites and settings. The shop should include all relevant information about discounts, different zones and all tickets of the New York subway. Branding: I decided to redesign the MTA logo and tried to make a fresh, dynamic branding. Therefor I reused the same blue color and added some other blue tones and mint and violet for highlights.

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