Runner Up

March 2020

New York City Subway App

Designer

Kayla Lim

Skills

  • App Design
  • Product Design
  • Prototyping
  • UX/UI
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Challenge

Problem

New York City will be launching a new app in support of its new system called OMNY that will include a new mobile ticketing system for the subway. Users can use this app for ticket purchases, adding payment information, way-finding, and mobile ticket redemption (QR code or NFC reader).

Insight

Thousands use the subway and other MTA modes of transportation every day. Anything that makes the experience of riding public transportation less painful is embraced. Through research, I’ve found that riders are excited for technology that simplifies their commutes, as opposed to complicating it.

Solution

A native mobile app that allows MTA users to quickly and easily access their ticketing information. In addition to ticketing, users can also check train statuses, navigate the MTA system through maps and routes, and safely keep their payment information stored.

Process

In the beginning, I researched the subway and the new payment program it is planning to role out. In this, I discovered that the subway, buses, and Metro-North rail are all controlled by the MTA. Therefore, I imagined a future when all of these transportation modes are made more seamless with the OMNY system when it came to designing the application. In discussions with MTA commuters, I discovered that many people wished the ticketing across these three modes could be simplified- currently it’s a hassle to switch between Metro-North and the subway, for example. There was also a desire for one application to serve all of one’s commuting questions and needs. Additionally, since the MTA serves such a wide spectrum of users, I wanted to make sure I was addressing all of their needs through a detailed user map. Not only do I need to think about how the typical user will use the app, but also students, the elderly, and others who might require reduced fare pricing.

Design System

For this app, simplicity is very important. People will use this while they are rushing around, and thus clean design that is easily navigable is key. I designed the app so that one is never more than two taps away from the ticket screen and the NFC reader. At the ticket page, all MTA tickets are consolidated in one place and the details of ticket types are quickly understood. After the ticket screen, the purchasing screen was important page to figure out. There are many different types of tickets and combinations that are possible, which is why the system remains complicated today. To simplify the navigation, I separated the modes of transportation between Subway/Bus and Metro-North, and after that seperated the ticket types into tabs. This way, all of the ticket types are in one location, but the screen isn’t cluttered with all of the options at once. One can easily flip through the tabs to buy many types of tickets, and keep a running total of the purchase price at the bottom.