From Big Apple To Smart City.
Connecting, Communities, New Yorkers And Each Other


What Happens When You
Tap Here?

The Challenge
After the ambitious undertaking that was the launch of LinkNYC,  Google-owned Intersection wanted to explore the full potential of kiosk’s tablet feature. Two years into the fist Link being installed, the tablet’s potential remained untapped and the promise to provide connectivity to all New Yorkers. While it served the purpose of complementing the content show on the monolith’s signature ad screens, the campaigns only served static content and the features offered by applications like Google Maps, Wi-Fi Calling, Weather, 411 and Others.
What We Didn’t See Coming

Around the same time our design team decided to take on redesigning the tablet operating system, our product team faced the challenge of quickly addressing accessibility  issues that could jeopardize the entire program. In order to ensure we addressed those issues with properly, we enlisted the help of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.We took this opportunity to redesign the tablet experience from the ground up, by addressing some of the basic challenges  low-vision and visually impaired users faced while interacting with the experience.

Working with Low-vision and visually impaired users gave us valuable insights that would help influence our design strategy and shape our understanding of the desired interaction we wanted out of the tablet.


Humble Beginnings, Rooted in Community

All About The Big Apple
From day one, LinkNYC’s tablet had one goal. Serve meaningful content that helped New Yorkers stay connected as they make their way to the city. For the MVP, the tablet’s content took on the role of promoting civic services, and programs, along with useful applications like Google Maps, Weather, NYC 311 and Wi-Fi Calling. However, in true MVP Fashion, the tablet’s experience needed to evolve beyond it’s handheld tablet-like feel to deliver engaging content.
Beyond Low Hanging Fruit
While our new content goals for the tablet gave us an easy win, Our approach redesigning user experience was driven would also be driven by insights gathered from more than a year’s worth of usage data. Our team also took full advantage of being able to engage users right outside the doors of our offices, in the streets of New York. We conducted eye tracking studies, user interviews and street intercepts to understand the pain points users experienced in the wild. 

Head To Head For The Crown

After testing over 6 different designs we narrowed it down to 2 versions our research indicated best met the objectives of the user experience we were looking to craft.

The Goal

Our initial research gave us the confidence to explore different design approaches that met our interaction goals and desired user experience. Testing our hypothesis right outside our office doors with real New Yorkers, let us quickly iterate towards two final designs that we could test with both users and internal stakeholders.

The Price of Admission

Way Faster Than a New York

More “Touchpad” less TETRIS
Despite of one design being the clear winner, we wanted to go beyond a bunch of tiles, we wanted to build a complex content framework that behaved more like an operating system the Google Android on steroids. 

Our interaction design strategy was driven by the expansive use of space our low vision test subjects were looking for. It inspired the way we looked when taking different “tiled” regions of the user interface and combined them to evolve seamlessly. Giving way effortlessly each and every time new content needed to be featured.

Interaction Design Goals

Obsessed With The Details Down to The Edges

Would rounding the corners help strike contrast Link’s otherwise cold form factor, and make it more inviting to the human touch?

No Question Too Dumb
What color would you use to solicit empathy to donate clothing during the holidays? What might we do to ensure the content on the tiles is unique but the colors follow accessibility standards? Our design process was focused answering questions like these and others when it came to the visual design language of the tablet’s user interface.
Accessible Beyond Accessibility
An honest journey that started with addressing accessibility compliance issues, culminates in a beautifully crafted experience that celebrates what makes New York City, the capital of the world. But the best thing about is is that we got there by doing honest UX Design work by speaking to and engaging with with real New Workers.

That's How We Left Our Mark on New York City

  • User Story Writing
  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Concept Sketching
Product Design
  • High Fidelity UI Designs
  • Design System Assets
  • Figma Clickable Prototype
UX Design
  • UX Mind Maps
  • User Journey Maps
User Testing
  • Test Plan Writing
  • Test Insight Distilling