Adapting solutions to mobility problems

IronHack Challenge 1 — Design Thinking for Citymapper

Víctor G. Hidalgo
3 min readApr 1, 2021

Imagine that you are traveling abroad and you want to use public transport to get around but you do not know the different routes to reach your destination in an optimal and economical way.
Many people have had this problem when they travel to a totally unknown country or city and Citymapper offers us a solution with its service when drawing routes taking into account all available means of transport.
Being able to choose the route that best suits our needs.

Citymapper can be used by Android and iOS

The challenge proposed by IronHack as a UX / UI designer is to solve the inconvenience caused by having to take out the different travel tickets on routes in which we use various public transports.
Therefore, we are going to try to increase the usability of this app with design thinking to address this problem by focusing on users and finding solutions that allow us to generate greater loyalty between Citymapper and its users.


In order to better understand the users and their point of view, 5 people between 25 and 32 years have been interviewed, who had previously used the application on trips abroad.


The interviews consisted of open-ended questions about their travels and experiences in places they had traveled to for the first time.
In this way, anecdotes and feelings arose which were really interesting to take into account their perception and how they develop in environments new to them.
Through these travel anecdotes I directed the interview about how they manage trips through those cities, verifying that, in most cases, this ignorance when obtaining the tickets generated a lot of anxiety and insecurity.


All the interviewees agree that the most comfortable option is to be able to make the payments of the different tickets from the app and in this way access the transports in a simple and intuitive way.
Therefore, we can focus on the real problem: getting the ticket easily through the app without having to resort to the different kiosks in each public transport.

Obtaining the tickets through the app is not only better for the user, it is also a more sustainable option with the planet as it does not require the physical printing the tickets.


Through a quick brainstorming, different possible ways to solve the problem emerge.

  • Detailed instructions:
    Because the problem lies in the complexity that may exist when we get the ticket, in this proposal the app, in addition to offering information about the route and the price of the tickets, would also offer detailed information on how to obtain each ticket with a series of instructions illustrated and concrete of the process.
  • City-Card:
    This solution would consist of obtaining a physical card, which would be previously loaded with a balance, with which we could pay for transportation as if it were a regional travel voucher, making use of the balance on the card.
  • In-app payment:
    Thinking of a comfortable solution for the user in which to save paperwork, this solution would consist of a single payment within the app itself, with which all transport costs on the selected route are resolved.


Taking into account the possible solutions, I have chosen to implement both a detailed description attached to the description of the route and, in addition, give the option of making the payment within the app.
In this way, the user can decide how they want to pay and experience the trip. Giving the user freedom to make their own decisions and feel fulfilled.

What I learned?

For me it has been very interesting to prepare and interview users, I had never done something like this and it has helped me to better focus on the problem and understand their different points of view. The design thinking process seems very organic to me.
As for how my head has worked, I have learned to think general ideas and their concrete implementation in the design of the app.