(Mobile App)

Papaya is a product that I developed for my apprenticeship at Thinkful. It is a mobile solution to a problem in midwestern cities that have expanded their public transit bus system. I narrowed down this broad topic into a specific focus on Joliet, Illinois.



The problem was poor communication between the city bus lines and the user’s experience.

The challenge was to create a mobile solution that transformed pain points into opportunities for improvement of delight in the target audience’s experience.


Concept development, market research, and product development. I planned the research design and developed research questions for surveys, interviews, and usability testing. I researched interaction design to produce prototypes for conducting usability studies.

Primary research: interviews, survey, usability testing

Secondary research: competitor research, task analysis


A minimum viable product (MVP) that exceeded the expectations of the project. I conceptualized and designed a solution that not only solved the problem, but other insights that were found. The data gathered opened up questions for future research.

Play with the clickable prototype!


      • An increase of bus riders by having an accurate bus schedule

      • Competitor research on the transportation industry to understand the landscape of trip planners and public transportation schedules
      • User interviews I with bus riders for discovery research
      • Surveys to screen participants and collect current demographic data and psychographic data from Joliet residents
      • User interviews II with bus riders who reside in Joliet
      • Usability testing our target audience’s needs, desires, and frustrations with our solution

Research Goals
      • Basic understanding of the topic in order to narrow research questions
      • Learn about current thoughts and feelings bus riders have around the new bus line expansion
      • Understand the lifestyles of bus riders (where do they go, how often, etc.)
      • Gather data to build personas/archetypes
      • Needs, desires, or pain points around the mobile solution

Target Audience
      • Joliet bus riders

Key Insights

Through my research, I discovered that the existing bus riding system was:

      • Participants are walking to their bus stop and usually complete the same task daily
      • Participants arrive early for their bus to ensure they'll be on time
      • Participants rely on a visual element of the bus, for example the bus number and color
      • Participants are walking to their bus stop and usually complete the same task daily
      • Participants don't want to over-complicate their commute

Primary Research

Remote Stakeholder Interview

To learn about the target audience and what their initial pain points were. The client asked me to provide a solution that would solve the issue of inaccurate bus schedule lists and unidentifiable bus lines that overlap at a single bus stop. 

Business Goals
      • Make no reliance on the user to calculate the ETA to their bus stop
      • Put less effort on the user to set their location or destination for a reoccurring task (route)
      • Deliver a visual design system that is easy-to-learn, adaptable, and helps users identify their bus 


Mobile App

Imagine that a city decides to expand their public transit bus system, but only posts their schedule online and at the physical bus stop. How accurate would that schedule be? How would this affect the bus riders?

Online User Survey/Screener
I deployed an online user survey/screener to a large sample size to learn about the target audience demographically and prepare for one-on-one interviews.

Sample of questions asked
    1. Think about the last time you took the bus. Which area were you taking the bus in?
    2. How did you get to the bus stop?
    3. What was your primary reason for taking the bus?

User Inquiry

Remote 1-on-1 Interview

When designing for this project I wanted to make sure that I was overcoming any biases, to make sure the app was truly designed for my intended audience. The 1-on-1 interviews taught me about the user’s perspective. It was a report about what they thought/said or felt.

    1. What is the current experience of the bus rider?
    2. How do they access the bus?
    3. What were people’s biggest pain points about their bus riding experience?
    4. How do people identify their bus?
    5. What type of learners are the riders?

Participant Recruitment Criteria
    1. 3-5 participants needed
    2. Based in a metropolitan area
    3. Available for 45min-1hr

Sample of questions asked
    1. How often has your bus come on time?
    2. When the bus arrived, could you identify if it was your bus?
    3. Is there a reason you would ever miss your bus?
    4. What is your biggest frustration with inaccurate bus schedule lists?
    5. How has overlapping bus lines impacted your route?

Key Findings
    1. Participants are walking to their bus stop and usually complete the same task daily.
    2. Participants arrive early for their bus to ensure they'll be on time.
    3. Participants rely on a visual element of the bus, for example the bus number and color.
    4. Participants don't want to over-complicate their commute.

Analyzing Data

Task Analysis

To lay out the big picture for taking a bus from point A to B, I included knowledge from the users and an experience map into the task to make the user’s task easier.

Journey Mapping

The information gathered from the task analysis, led me to design a hierarchal structure by organizing the data that was then visualized into a site map. This was pertinent to the build of the prototype because I was able to design with the user’s mental model in mind, which kept me user-centered.

Information Architecture

Site Mapping

See diagram below:


I am adding more information as I receive the data. I would like for you to take a moment to understand my research process by carefully reviewing the information above.