Via:

Custom, Belief-Based Transit Options

Final Deliverables:

App, wearable device, and marketing campaign concepts, concept video

Time Frame:

1.5 Months

Team Size+Role:

4 / UIUX Designer, UX Researcher, Visual Designer

Programs Used:

Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Indesign

Nobody Likes Transit. 

Most people you ask will say that transit is an unfortunate necessity of life. In fact, my team's multiple research sessions confirmed it; everyone had something to complain about. It was the unreliability of transit and the existing apps that try to track it, along with the sterile and anti-social nature of transit that turns people off. 

Rather than do the predictable and refine already existing transit apps, we decided to attempt to bend the perception of what transit is. Our user research initially pulled us into many directions, but eventually led us to the idea that everyone values things differently, and transit could be another aspect of their life that reflects their identity and aspirations. 

 

Via is a product ecosystem that confronts the sterile nature of transit and improves upon it by making it about who the user is and what they desire. 

Born from Diverse User Research

Surveys and Speed-Dating presentation of concept storyboards were the research methods that yielded the most fruitful information on how users feel about transit - unfortunately the results were all over the place! When asked questions concerning their own transit experiences and how they would like to see improvements, comments ranged from more eco-friendly alternative route offerings, better visibility of bikeshare services, a more tourist-friendly tool for those new to a place, and simply more accurate transit estimations. Although no one explicitly mentioned it, everyone had their own set of values and expectations on what transit should be.

 

Below is an example of a preliminary idea tested with users: a chatbot message app to check on bus times and conditions. 

Trial and Error

This project was actually really close to fizzling completely after user research was done. What seemed like a really rich area, transit, ended up leading to polarizing data and input that felt all over the place. Many meetings were spent trying to determine where to go from there and what to focus on. Should the product aim to be delightful but meant for a niche group, or should it be for a wider audience but very general and bland. After critiques, feedback sessions, and organizing research data, we arrived at our final ideology: that transit is an experience everyone treats different, why don't we provide a tool that caters to that?

Transit Mapped To Your Values

The tone/language of the campaign reflects 'choice'; that the user is in control of what they desire and want out of their transit experience. Using characters with distinct visual traits and color palettes, the different ideologies within the app are clearly expressed. The language is sure to frame everything as a choice, as it is less about picking an identity and staying locked into it for life, but instead identify that you can be any one of these characters on any given day; it is your choice on how you experience transit. 

Customize the App Anytime

The app's main selling point is the option to toggle between different environments based on a specific value: Health, Green, Wanderlust, and Standard (time efficiency). These four represent the different values observed from user research, and in addition to changing the skin/visual language of the app, they also tweak the functionality of the app. Different routes are suggested and ranked by different metrics based on the preference, e.g. ranked by shortest route for standard, most physical activity within a time limit for health, and bike-heavy routes for green.

The Option to Opt-Out

An important piece gained from research that made it to the final product is the ability to opt out of the preference-based structure. Sometimes travelers simply want to make it to point B, whether it is due to fatigue or to make a time commitment. Additionally, the stress of being lost, not knowing where to go, or adjusting to a new transit routine are all legitimate reasons why one would find no use in any other mode beyond time efficiency. Via is a balance between offering something new while still keeping some feet on the ground.