A next-generation public transportation experience
UseR RESEARCH    Rapid prototype     iterative design     usability testing

Project Summary

Future public transportation service will be improved a lot by technology such as an intelligent transportation system.

In this project, we built on our knowledge and skills to design and prototype an experience that is distributed across multiple channels to support public transportation.

My role

In this 4-week project, my major contributions were building the user journey map and working as a facilitator in the bodystorming stage. Meanwhile, I did user research, sketches, and prototype as well.

Facilitating bodystorming was an important component in our design because we emphasised the experience in both the virtual and physical world. And it helped us dig deeper into the holistic user experience in public transportation.

User Research

Researching about users' thoughts is always better than assuming their needs.

Based on interviews and secondary research, we targeted on one main user case. Meanwhile, we also took three other cases into consideration.

Hayley, Female, 26,  Software Engineer.

"Taking the bus is a good opportunity to enjoy the  peace of solitary."

Hayley is a software engineer in a technology company. Taking the bus to commute is her routine. After working for the whole day, she gets on the bus, wears her headphone, and listens to music. She really enjoys this moment because it is relaxing and she would not be interrupted.

As a single, taking a bus alone may be unsafe at night."

“We worry that our children may disturb other passengers"

“Taking a bus with accessibility unities is convenient."


Before diving into a 'perfect' idea, we brainstorm as a group aiming to explore different design solutions. Comparing our ideas made us learn from each other.

Departure from our own envision of future public transportation service and interview results,
we came up with ideas such as users can order a bus, new ways to get tickets, more spaces for users in autonomous bus, the user can rate the drive.

User Journey

It is hard to understand users' experience in our designed scenario by just looking at the screen and wondering. As a designer, we learned how to utilize simple objects in daily life to create a context and use our body to experience our design. My background in urban design helped me a lot at this stage. I facilitated acting out with chairs and sticky notes to go through the whole experience and identify key touchpoints in the journey.

We divided the user journey into
three phases: Pre-service, In-service, and Post-service. Smartphones and smartwatch were identified as main touchpoints through which interaction between the user and the service happened. We then believed that design intervention should happen in touchpoints where the user may feel frustrated.

Sketches & Prototype

The design direction became clearer after we understood the user journey by acting out.

Our primary aim in this phase was to concrete our design with sketches about the whole service. We tried to design for different service phases and make Lo-fi prototype to refine the design.

Find Your Hitch

We considered both smartphone and watch as channels to notify users the Hitch has arrived. With the help of haptic and visual feedback, users are able to find the correct Hitch (has the same red color on their devices) they should take. The user can get in the Hitch through NFC technology by moving their devices close to the ticket machine ​.

Customizable Space

We took chairs in the classroom to help us to do bodystorming. Those chairs are rotatable which inspired us to design customizable space for users. By rotating the seat facing different directions, users are able to create comfortable spaces either a relatively public space for a group of friends/family or a private space for individuals who do not want to be disturbed.

Get Feedback

Testing users with a low-fidelity prototype was quick and useful. In addition to paper prototype, we also invited users to act out with us with chairs and sticky notes. Participants were much more engaged than usual and helped us identify problems in the whole experience.

We did not take all insights from the testing because we realized some of the confusion was due to the low fidelity of the prototype. We only focused on issues that will affect the user experience.

"I did not realize I can use voice command."
"What is the difference between "departure time and arrival time?"
"I want to comment more if I am not satisfied with the drive."

Design Iteration

The testing showed that users can understand the whole design without much efforts.

Based on the findings from the testing, we refined our design and made a mid-fidelity interactive prototype to add more details in it.

Remind users that they can use voice to interact with the app.

Use departure time only. Remove arrival time.

Add a comment box for . users to give feedback even if there is no human driver.


We did more than digital apps in this project. Physical space on the bus, the way how people find the bus, and other touchpoints beyond the phone and watch were taken into consideration as well. Bodystorming is proved to be a useful strategy in such kind of design.

During this project, we used chairs and sticky notes to help us act out and embodied our design. This is helpful when we want to create a scenario that is not limited to digital interaction and different from the exsiting context. In this way, rethinking our design in a embodied context can be very inspiring.