Runner Up

March 2020

New York City Subway App

Designer

Liviu Tabacaru

Skills

  • Animation
  • Branding
  • Interaction Design
  • UX/UI
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Challenge

Problem

New York City is in the process of replacing Metro Cards with the new OMNY payment system. The card's functionality and ease of use needs to be not only matched but also upgraded in order to accommodate a very wide range of users.

Insight

The main pain points that surfaced from the user research were almost exclusively revolving around the unreliability of the subway system and the constant delays, which led me to understand that what people dislike the most is the high level of uncertainty in their commute.

Solution

The app focuses on two main elements: Easy payment - The NFC / QR code widget can be displayed on the lock screen and payments can be set to autoload, making it a single-touchpoint experience. Travel notifications - Custom notifications can be set up for daily commutes and other trips.

Process

In order to approach such a complex subject successfully, I decided to utilize the design thinking methodology: empathize, define, ideate, paper prototype, test, digital prototype and test again. As I've never been to New York, the first step I took was heavy research into the NYC subway, the current payment system and the roll-out plan for the OMNY system. Living in Toronto, I could relate to many of NYC's problems, however I needed to delve more deeply into the issues, so I interviewed users from Toronto and New York and created a survey to gather more significant data. The conclusions I drew from the research were condensed in 4 main themes: Reliability, Accessibility, Payment and Crowdedness, therefore my design principles became: keep it stupid simple, keep it clean & accessible, improve the experience and crowdsource reports for notifications. After developing the user personas, I created a customer journey map which, along with the storyboards, revealed great opportunities.

Design System

In order to better outline the app functionality, I sketched wireframes in parallel with the user flow and app architecture. This revealed not only the most important steps in the user journey, but also the visual elements that needed to be emphasized. Once the paper prototype was ready and tested, I developed the app's branding and decided to utilize a simple and clean visual style. The logo creates a dynamic contrast between the white slab serif "NYC" letters and the turquoise serif of the letter "E", setting an elegant and vibrant mood for the entire app experience. The Tickets landing screen is the most important and contains the largest elements in the app. The user can easily see from the start what is the status of their balance and manage their account. From there on, the UI elements are less complex, but still easy to read. The tab bar navigation keeps everything within reach and most decision buttons are placed closer to the bottom of the screen for easy reach.