Using Design Thinking to avoid vending machines in public transportations

Presentation of the application

If this application make easier your journey through public transportations, there are still some pain points in urban mobility that can be solved. One of them is founding vending machines that work, waiting for your turn, then alone in front of the machine doing the right choices in a hurry (peoples are waiting behind you).


What seems to be the more annoying for the people I interviewed, was founding the correct place to buy or recharged your transit fares, then spending time to review the appropriate ticket (sometimes in foreign language).

“I got a magnetic card, it’s cool. I found it more convenient than one way tickets. I charged it with money and use it through the week. When I’ve no more money, I go to the machine and charge it again. I need to be careful though because there is no machine in the station where I work, so if I run out of money there it’s annoying.”

“As I don’t want to be bothered when I’m travelling, I often take a transport card and put money on it. My mistake is that I don’t like queues and loosing time to search and understand transport prices, so I put lots of money on these cards. Then I don’t have to think about it… Until the end of my travel when I realized, I need to leave the city and I still often have a lot of money on my cards. Back home I lost the card…”

“What’s great with the OUIsncf app, is that I can take the tickets with my phone 10 minutes before the train leaves and I don’t have to open my wallet.”

Define the main problem

Process and user flow

When opening your Citymapper application to search for your itinerary, you click on Get me somewhere on the first page. Then you fill the Start and End spaces then hit Go. The next thing on your screen is basically a detailed listing of all your itineraries option, with type of transportations, time needed and the ticket price. You choose your preferred option. Then some changements are appearing.

On the newt page, my idea is simply to put the transport price in a button with “pay” attached to it.

When you click it, it open a new page providing you the right ticket for the chosen itinerary, with the possibility of by one or more (hit the drop down menu), and see the other offers like all day pass. You click your prefered ticket (and number) and it send you to a page to pay. If it’s the first time, you enter your card info, if it’s not, you just hit pay (you can also, deleted or add a new cards). Then a confirmation appears, with an info on where to see your bought tickets, after a few second you’re send back to your chosen itinerary.

On the parameter page you can see witch city you’re in. My idea to see your already bought tickets, is adding a “You have tickets here” button under the city name.

At last when you want to change the city, you open the list and an icon “Your tickets” will be next to the city name, so you can check if/where you have bought transit fares.

When you hit “You have tickets here” a listing of your bought tickets appears with the number left and the button Buy again attached, there will also be some used tickets, that you can buy again, to make even more easy your rechargement.

paper prototype

By adding this feature, You can purchase tickets through the app, regarding your chosen itinerary. Your tickets are kept in the app, city by city, and you can recharged as many times as you like. This solve the problem of searching for vending machines, it also prevents you from getting the wrong ticket as you buy it regarding your itinerary and in your language (the one you choose in the app parameters). Another thing made easier by this feature is that it regroups in one place your metro or rent-a-bike tickets, or any other transit fares you purchase.

During your holiday you can planned (or not) your visits and buy your way there 3 minutes before leaving your hotel or the restaurant.

If you’re in your home town, you can see from your chair that you don’t have anymore tickets and just click buy again your regular ticket, in the “All your tickets” page (on the used ones section).

It improves every user experience of buying public transportations tickets.

My learnings on this challenge

Another thing that I learn through the work is that Design Thinking is really a step by step process facilitated by the cycle approach. What I mean is that, going quickly back and force through the ideate and (paper)prototype phases helps me to confirmed my choices.

I really liked this exercise. It wasn’t easy but I learned a lot and wanted to keep working on it.

Textil designer currrently learning UX-UI design.