Design Thinking Challenge: Citymapper

Citymapper 📱

Citymapper is a mobility app that includes many cities around the world. It shows real-time information: timetables, fares, and different services available (metro, bus, taxi, scooter, Uber, carsharing, walking…). It has 50m+ users worldwide and a rating of 4.7/5.

The task 🚨

Citymapper is a great help for many, many users but to make it perfect (if that’s even possible), for this exercise we are asked to solve a common problem for all customers:

Let’s put users in the centre… 💬

It is true that Citymapper is an app for everyone, but for my research I will focus on a specific group of users who I believe meet the fundamental requirements of the problem: people between 18–35 years old.

Interview questions
Interview questions
  • Planning the route ahead of time and looking at the different travel options (combining different methods of transport).
  • Not knowing the cheapest option (season tickets, offers, day passes, price by zones…)
  • Not displaying timetables in real-time
  • Not showing warnings, incidents or events that affect the journey.
  • To know if there is overcrowding on the lines
  • Buying tickets physically (where to buy them, especially if different methods of transport are used; no ticket counters/machines available at the station or stop, if there is a queue or no staff at the ticket counters or if the machines are out of order; language; payment methods available; having to talk to other people…)
  • Buying tickets within the app (one of the users prefers not to have this option because they are concerned about their data; having no coverage; phone or payment method failing; what happens if you change your plans at the last minute and the tickets you bought are no longer valid…)
  • It does not update in real-time
  • The app tracks your journey correctly and notifies you of stops and route changes.
  • Where/how to validate tickets
  • The app loses coverage
  • The app uses a lot of battery and data (especially if you’re travelling abroad).
  • Having to ask people
  • Losing tickets/payment proofs
  • Names on the app VS my language VS signage
  • Not displaying warnings, incidents or events that affect the journey, even being able to notify the user of them.
  • Changing plans at the last minute and not having any options.
  • Save my trip
  • Trip history
  • Keep favourite transport methods
  • Being able to give feedback

The challenge❗

The user feels that having to travel is a waste of time in itself, especially if they use public transport. So we are going to make your journey easier from start to finish, making it efficient and simple so that you spend as little time as possible configuring your route.

Brainstorming 💭

Ideas from the brainstorming
Ideas from the brainstorming


Including the option to buy tickets within the app is a must for our purpose, but we will add 2 options:

  • Buy all the tickets for a trip
  • Buy them individually (in case you need several). This way you will be able to change plans in case any need arises without having to pay in full.
  • Language selection
  • Customisable route configuration
  • Ability to access offline routes, if you do not want to spend data but still follow your route.
  • Real-time alerts and the possibility of notifying incidents.
  • At the end of the trip, give feedback
  1. Change the language
  2. Decides to make a trip from A to B
  3. Insert A and B
  4. Select the time they want to leave, but also set an alarm to leave on time
  5. Filter your favourite means of transport, if you want the longest route, the cheapest route…
  6. Select the route
  7. Pop up purchase
    7.1 You may not buy tickets
    7.2. You can buy the tickets
    7.2.1. Select only some of the tickets or buy them all at once
    7.2.2. Change the number of tickets you want and choose special fares/prices
    7.2.3. Pay:
    – If it is the first time, select your payment method (including the most common today: card, PayPal, wallets…).
    – Pay directly
    7.2.4. Payment confirmation
    7.2.5. View tickets or start your journey
  8. On your route, you can view tickets and download them, as well as the route itself.
  9. You can receive alerts that affect your trip or notify them in case you encounter them.
  10. At the end of your trip, you can give feedback (or not).
  11. Your last purchased tickets will be added to the home screen so you can redo them with a single tap.

Prototype 📝

To make this journey possible I made a series of sketches that included all the solutions for the user insights and then turned them into a paper prototype.

Here are the first sketches
Here are the first sketches
Here are the pieces I created for the paper prototype
Here are the pieces I created for the paper prototype
Flowchart of Citymapper with the new features
Flowchart of Citymapper with the new features

Learning points 🎁

Read the full article here

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