As part of the HackerYou curriculum, I was tasked with identifying issues with the current Toronto transit system, and coming up with a solution in the form of a mobile app. I focused on accessibility.
Currently, only 45 of the 75 stations are accessible. These stations can easily become inaccessible if an elevator is out of service. For someone whose travel is reliant on elevator access, this could easily result in the rider having to make a trip to another accessible station in hopes that the elevator is working. Even when these services are functioning, trying to locate these services can be difficult due to poor signage and a lack of TTC staff available.
Minimally accessible stations seemed to me as a major issue for people, but without firsthand experience about how much these inconveniences can impact someone’s journey, I conducted street level face-to-face interviews. The short questionnaire asked people if they had ever experienced TTC station issues, and to give examples.
To ensure that I received a wide array of responses, I interviewed people waiting at a TTC stop above ground, as well as people entering and exiting TTC stations. I tried to get more responses from people who seemed to have mobility issues, injuries, strollers, and those who looked lost/confused.
Because of the time constraints on this project, no more than 2 days was spent facilitating sidewalk conversation.
"I’ve waited over 2 hours for the accessible transit bus to pick me up then get to the station and the elevator doesn’t work. The driver had to drive me another station."
"I can’t imagine having a disability and having to rely on the TTC."
"Lots of delays."
Incorporating everything learned from the user research, and from storyboarding the app, I began wire framing what the UI would look like. After a few versions, I was ready to move on to the design.
It was important to me to keep everything as simple as possible, including big buttons and accessible colours. I chose a dark theme so that when the app is used underground, it would be easy to see.
Upon entering the app, users are asked to select a TTC station. For added convenience, there is also an option to tap a GPS icon to auto-populate the user’s location with the closest station. On the home screen, users can choose which way they are heading to provide the most accurate navigation from the subway platform, similarly to Google Maps walking directions. From the platform, we can see indicators on the accessible services, and, taking from the Waze app, users are able to report issues with these services in the same manner. InVision Prototype
This project taught me a lot about the value of speaking with people face-to-face. Speaking with people directly gave me valuable insights and taught me different techniques on how to approach them for interviews.