2020 / Dubai, united arab emirates

Dubai, having the busiest airport and one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world sees a significant number of commuters in its public transport section. 
According to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) statistics, around 346 million riders have used public transport out of which 113.63 million used the Metro in 2020.

Scope of work

Customer Research and Interview
UX Research
UX Design & Wireframing the product
UI Design

Problem identification

Dubai's transportation network uses NOL card, throughout its rail network, taxi, buses, water taxis and tram networks. However, the when asked by residents or tourists, the metro or dubai's bus is not their first choice of the preferred mode of transport. And that is due to a couple of reasons that we identify as a problem.

Most of these commuters would take Dubai metro or bus, because they have to not because they want to. A lot of which would prefer calling an über, take a privately owned transportation mode, a hire car or shared bus, if they can, instead of using the public transport network.

Research & user interviews

To further understand the problem we interviewed the tourist and the resident segments of Dubai

Common key-findings

Some of the key findings from interviews conducted were around the challenges faced by the commuters when it comes to funding their NOL account as well as for new commuters (tourists) around finding the nearest stations to them.

• Limited top-up options
• Commuters missing the train or bus during busy hours
• Distance and direction unfamiliarity for new commuters

Defining User personas

To get a deep understanding of potential user behaviors and needs, the first step was to define the personas of who a solution was being created for

Solution design

Using design thinking frame work when we reached the ideation phase, we decided on digitised solution in form of a mobile app that gives the commuters access to their NOL accounts and common commute information on their finger tips. Users should be able to access information about their closest point of public transportation, top-up their NOL cards and more, removing the friction and hassle for an everyday commuter.

Planning the information architecture

Product Prototypes to test early ideas

Iterations & learnings from user-testing

Following an iterative design process and testing on the prototypes we came to various learnings that lead us to iterations and changes to suit the users’ needs. We simplified the onboarding, top-up and planning a journey process to the easiest possible for an an every day commuter.

User interface design for MVP

Fast search for a
fast-paced city

In-commute notifications so you never miss a stop​.

Search & suggestions

Smart suggestions aggregate from most visited stations and destinations. The smart suggestion has various other features like suggesting:

• Nearby events in the city based on traffic density
• Displaying paid promotions for venues and events

Easily top-up your NOL travel card

Registered users also get a digital NOL card that can be tapped at any train or bus station using NFC readers. That reduces the hassle of buying a physical card and adding balance to it using top-up machines.

Digital cards also help in reduce plastic waste and carbon foot print.

Retrospective & learnings

After completion of MVP I looked back and tested the idea and MVP with more users and learnt some key points. Some of them that could potentially be improved for the next release were:

• Designing a more inclusive experience based on equity focused principles. Focusing on on an inclusive experience for all groups including ones who are visually impaired.

• Adding more options for students and senior citizens to commute using government offered discounts.

• Designing an offline experience for commuters for when they lose internet connectivity during their commute.


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