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Enhancing the BART System

M Des. Project | Research | System Mapping | Ideation | Prototyping

🚀Designing a solution to make the riding experience better for BART riders.

🎯 Finding the most impactful intervention point in the system
My Roles & Responsibilities
User Research, Information Architecture, Ideation, Wireframing, Visual Design, Prototyping
Me & Cassie

Class project under Prof. Jesus Garcia  
Nov 2021 - Dec 2021
Figma, Miro
ℹ️ what is BART?
Bay Area Rapid Transit
BART is a heavy-rail public transit system that connects the San Francisco Peninsula with communities in the East Bay and South Bay.
🎯 the goal
To evaluate the current BART system and redesign a better solution to enhance the user experience for novice riders (such as tourists) and expert or regular riders.
🔍 secondary research
So what are people saying about the BART? Looking into pain points from online sources, as a starting point
Yelp, Google, and Apple Store reviews
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These were the Main Findings:

Before riding:

  • Lack of notice in delay              

  • Inconsistency of the timetable with the actual departing time

On the train:

  • Lack of cleanliness

  • Loud people/noisy

  • Intercom voice not heard

  • Train delays

After riding:

  • Payment for parking is advertised wrong

📍field research
Going to the BART station and riding the train


Visited the Civic Centre BART station at 10 am on a Sunday


Observed friend’s reaction as a first time BART user


Walked through the station, observed, and talked to different kinds of people at each point. Documented their interactions with photos and notes


Purchased a ticket as a first time user, and took a train till Embarcadero Station


Got down at the station and did some more observation and interviews to gain insights.


Rode back to the Civic Centre Station

A few people we interviewed:
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4 of these people were experiencing the BART for the first time
📋 synthesizing insights
Individually put down our insights and grouped them to find overlaps 
After taking notes and documenting observations, we individually put down our insights and then grouped them to find overlaps.

mapped out at which point of the process the pain points lie and gave us an idea about the significant pain points in the system.
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👤 creating archetypes
We grouped our target audience into 3 main archetypes
After gathering insights from our research, we had an idea of who our target audience was.
👟 mapping the user journey
Laying down all the information to find opportunities
Now that we knew our target audience and their pain points, we laid down all this information, along with their thoughts and actions- from when they enter the station to when they leave the gate at their destination
Journey Map
Opportunities found:

1. Entering the Station (before entering the access gate)

  • Make the kiosk interface more intuitive to understand

  • Make the labeling of the kiosks easier to understand

  • Change the location of the clipper card scanner so that it's more visible

  • Integrating the card scanning process

  • Make information related to the journey/BART system - more accessible, especially near the kiosks - regarding phone wallets and BART app


2. Entering the Access Gate

  • Make the entering and exiting signs more obvious

  • Make the card scanning process for the accessible gate more aligned with the mental model

3. Going to the Platform

  • Make the elevator more accessible /easier to find

4. At the Platform

  • Color code the lines

  • Make information consistent across the platforms

  • Introduce markings on the platform for bike areas, entry areas etc

  • Show the direction in which the train is going to arrive

5. On the Train

  • Increase speaker volume

  • Show live-updated map in all trains

6. Leaving the Gate

  • Reduce the difficulty of finding the elevator location

  • Give more clarity/ map out information on which exit leads where

🗂 affinity mapping
Grouping Opportunities to find our Problem Statement
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How might we make the process of getting a new clipper card more intuitive while informing users of the varied available resources?
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How Might We make information across the BART system more consistent and accessible and tie it to the user's mental model?
Breaking down the HMW statements to ideate

// HMW 1

How might we make the process of getting a new clipper card more intuitive while informing users of the varied available resources?

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// HMW 2

How might we make information across the BART system more consistent and accessible and tie it to the user's mental model?

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🤔 ❌
However, through this first phase of ideation, after feedback, we realized that we didn't go as deep as we should have. 
We then brainstormed again, but this time, we pushed ourselves to think more innovatively. We used various ideation techniques such as mind mapping, SCAMPER, and forced connections to expand our thinking beyond the obvious solutions.
Looking back at the thoughts & pain points in our journey map.
👈 taking a step back.
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Pain points brainstormed on:

Ease of getting to the platform with the extra load, esp for bikers, and people using the accessible gate                                                                                                      

Taken by surprise by no color coding of lines on the platform 


Indication of the waiting area at the platform                                                                 

Stop announcements on the train speakers can't be heard

  1. Payment for Clipper 

  2. Awareness of train time/plan  

  3. Access gate indication confusion

  4. Friction in the In-station direction





🔄 another round of ideation
Ideation 2.0
First round of ideation - brainstormed ideas on each point
First Round of Ideation
Second round of ideation - on the top ideas
Second Round of Ideation
🧱 prioritization
Prioritizing the top ideas based on value-effort
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Here are some of the ideas: 
🧐 high effort-high impact theme
There was one theme that had the most impact and towards which most of the ideas were leading to

Hence, leading to Revamping the BART App


The current BART app does not have the clipper card integrated into it. From research and analysis, the opportunity for Integrating the Clipper Card and Digital wallet was very high.

It also eliminates the confusion for people who are looking for a ‘one-time ticket’

"How can I just buy a one-time ticket so I don't have to pay for the card even if I lose it?"

"Where and how should I pay for the clipper card?"


Integration of Clipper card into BART app, while informing people of the various types of cards available


Confusion regarding pricing and how much to load in the card.