This case study was in collaboration with McMaster University's 2021 Designathon x TWG, a Deloitte Business. Our goal was to answer - How might we increase the accessibility of public transportation, and connect those with accessibility needs to existing resources that can assist them?
UX/UI Designer - worked collaboratively in a team of 3
Nov 12-14, 2021 (just under 48 hrs)
TWG, a Deloitte business & McMaster Design League
Since we were targeting ttc riders, we wanted to learn more about how the ttc is currently accommodating those with disabilities. Some of the things we found were that:
These findings really helped us understand our target audience better, the kinds of struggles they were going through, and highlight potential areas of improvement.
While doing research, we also identified the relevant stakeholders who would be involved in the process, directly or indirectly on the basis of interest and impact. We felt that physically impaired people and their caregivers were the direct stakeholders with high interest and impact. As indirect stakeholders, the TTC and the City of Toronto would be more involved as well, as they would have a lot of say in the changes that would happen. Indirect and lower impact stakeholders would be daily commuters and tourists, since accessibility is not a huge concern to them.
His family has recently moved to Toronto, and he is excited to start his first year at UofT. He is paraplegic, and his family relies on TTC for transportation purposes. He is concerned about commuting by himself, and his needs would involve guidance and information on how to navigate the stations. He has trouble finding his way through the stations as his hands are often preoccupied with maneuvering the wheelchair. So how do we assist his commute independently?
Also, meet Jacky. Unlike Tim, she is visually impaired and usually uses TTC to commute. She is concerned about traveling in unfamiliar routes and areas, as she needs assistance in travelling and finds herself to be nervous throughout the journey. How might we help her feel reassured about her commute?
The existing apps we found were used by commuters in the USA and Toronto. Apps like Magnuscards & Blindways were used by visually impaired commuters in the USA. We identified the elements that made them successful in their user experiences and compared it with our users' journeys and pain points. This allowed us to create user flows that addressed problems like requiring active assistance or figuring out the nearest accessible route. We also looked at existing transit apps such as Rocketman and Google maps, to identify patterns in how users search up a destination and get directions.
From these apps, some features that we found helpful and wanted to investigate further included:
Deciding on the navigation came from thinking about the order of events the user would go through. For example, they would likely start with planning their trip, so they would first need to look up the route. Once they have an idea of where they need to go, they may have some questions/concerns about it, which is why they would go to the cards to get more information. Lastly, the AR/virtual assistance feature is most valuable once they actually start their journey.
Based on how our users would utilise our proposed application, we created the user flows influenced by the scenarios and the journeys. We focused on three aspects:
Tim's scenario: Tim is trying to take the subway from to his next class - he has to find the right subway route, enter the station, arrive at the platform, and board the train.
Jacky's flow: Needs to get to her friends house by taking the subway and streetcar.
We chose red as our primary colour as it is often associated with transit. Keeping accessibility in mind, we didn't want to use too many colours as indicators as it may be difficult for colour blind users to differentiate them. We made sure to check that the red that we used passed contrast guidelines, and is above a 4.5:1 ratio.
After completing our initial hi-fi, we asked a couple of our peers to test the product. We were able to analyze their movements and they were able to provide us great feedback on things we could improve on. Our biggest takeaway was to increase the size of the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen since currently, it did not provide enough room for them to select and tap the options with ease. This is especially helpful for those who may not have the best motor skills, or for those with poor eyesight.
If you're interested, you can view the final prototype below:
While we were coming up with solutions, we came across a bunch of redesign opportunities for TTC stations that we would want to share. Although these are not all digital implications, we thought they were good considerations that would pair well with our app. For example:
If you're interested in watching the judges announcement (9:38-10:35) 😊