Subwability

New York City (NYC) subway is not accessible to disabled people. The basic infrastructure of the NYC subway is criticized for its inaccessibility. Hence, I would like to address this problem by designing an app, aiming to ease the pain of disabled people when they travel by the subway.
MY ROLE

Full-stack designer— discovery, user research, design, animation

TEAM

Personal Project

PROJECT DURATION

Spring 2019, 4 Weeks

Problems

To understand the problems encountered by disabled people, I used on-site observation to investigate the interactions and environment in the NYC subways. Through developing an experience map of the subway, I discovered three main problems.

Process

How I got there...
Ideations

After understanding the users’ problems, I developed an initial user flow, shown below. However, the user research with disabled people showed me the problems of my early sketch, so I turned my focus on the features that help disabled people to fully utilize the existing subway’s assistive devices. Here are the problems with the initial sketch:

  1. Disabled people could not find the existing accessibility devices of the subway shown in the app, which discouraged them to use the app.
  2. The real-time update of the corresponding subway route’s status is subtle and invisible to the users, which caused them to think there was a connection problem.
  3. Disabled people could not find the differences in the features between my app and the other navigation app such as google map.
Prototyping

After getting an understanding of the problems, I developed a more developed prototypes and user flow.

Concept

Introducing Subwability

Rating of the accessibility of the subway routes

Subwability visualizes the route which is with ramps or elevators, helping users to navigate inside the station. Moreover, the app recommends the best spot for waiting on the platform and the number of train cars.

A progress indicator shows an estimated waiting time and reasons for delays, which can give a sense of control of time to disabled people and lower their impatience.

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