Me, Feng Yuan, and Nadine Razzouk were working together for this project about MTA subway experience, and we developed a way to make the service better, with a specific concentration on people who have vision impairment.
Our hypothesis is: The entry of the subway stations are not as accessible as they may seem.
Our target audiences are:
adults, teens, children, mid-teens, pre-schoolers
people with special needs
Our conceptual model: the easiest and quickest way to travel around NYC; therefore, we need to make the service user-friendly, efficient, accessible to various people regardless of their disabilities
The Objective of the research is to provide a more efficient subway experience for individuals with disabilities.
We created 2 user-profiles:
We created a simple user flow of people using the subway service:
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1) Interviewing individuals with visual impairment in order to understand their subway experience in order to develop the current subway service
2)Qualitative (open-ended question) and Quantitative (survey): We will focus on the qualitative research to fullyunderstand the experience people have using the subway service
We conducted interviews via emails and we had a set of questions:
how do you distinguish the direction of the station?
how do you find where the subway station is located?
how do you distinguish the sound of the turnstile - when do you know whether or not you are entering/ failing?
if there’s one thing you can change to the subway station, what would you change?
PEOPLE WE CONTACT
Don Katz: Person with visual impairment
Jason Luchs: Director of Student Disability Services at the New school
New York State Office of Children and Family Service: http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cb/
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD): http://www.nyc.gov/html/mopd/html/contact/contact.shtml
We did a bunch of research and I found 2 phone apps that are helping people with disabilities to get a better accessibility to the MTA subway service:
smart subwayAR: http://smartsubwayar.com/
Smart Subway AR is an advanced app to get information about the New York City subway system, including live alerts and planned work, as well as maps and service information that changes throughout the day.
AccessWay is a mobile way-finding app that assists the blind and visually impaired with(in)navigating the MTA Subway system.
We came up with this idea of combining two of these apps together to provide a better experience, and here is our user flow of using the app:
Here is our mapping of the app we are making:
We decided to make our app name [iMTA], not only refers to the idea of information; but it also refers to the idea of [i] being an [eye], to help people finding the information of the MTA subway service.
Here is our mock-up prototype of the app, and we tested with people and we asked them to be blind-folded, and we realize that because of the pop app (for prototyping), we couldnt achieve the result we imagined. Also, we asked people to use it generally without being blind-folded, they found some parts confusing, but generally it's not as hard for them to use.
I have the pdf file here for downloading
We realized some problems during user testing:
hard to simulate the accessibility mode: and when we say it out, people get easily impatient and confused
interface design - as simple as possible - it’s better to provide
limited numbers of functions
voice respond timing - immediate response from the app
maybe with viberation on the phone - to inform the user with visual impairment
whether or not it is easy to rotate the phone
Here is how Don Katz (one of our advisors) using his iPhone in accessibility mode with voice-over function.
The accessibility mode is really hard to simulate by using pop app, but we think if we have more time we would make paper prototype so that people understand the flow when they are being blind-folded.