Access to Places

This project highlights our team’s design, UX research strengths. We worked with 5 blind subway riders to give us feedback on our design and other concepts. The aim of this project was to design a transit app that gives blind users information about the physical layout of subway stations. The project was part of the Havas transportation challenge, and the Microsoft Design Expo.

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The Problem

Subway signage in New York guides pedestrians in and out of stations millions of times a day. but for blind commuters who can not see the signage, traveling independently through subway stations presents unique challenges.
For many of us New York is a dream city, but it falls short in many ways.
Frustrations for blind travelers tend to stem from a few key reasons:

Many stations lack

clear signage.

Station layouts are

widely varied

Service changes are

not well-communicated.

It can get pretty difficult to figure out where you are and where you should be headed.
Signage sighted travelers take for granted is simply never communicated to blind travelers.
Braille signs are limited, audio announcements are not easily heard or understood.



people with vision difficulty
live in the urban area of New York.

Solution: Access to Places

Brings visual signage of the system into mobile devices.

Our Users

Spoke to several users active in the accessibility community in New York.


Before even entering the subway station, he reads about the station on Wikipedia to find its entrances and exits.

Our solution

Made subway information structured and navigable.

Prototyped mobile application that takes content of signs, posters, and screens and makes them available to blind users. We focused on making the most critical information structured anad navigable.

What we learned from our user interviews

  • Inaccessible but high priority items
  • Entrances and exits
  • Platform information
  • Arrival times
  • Other live updates such as service changes

Users select a line, station, then click into the specific information they seek.

The language of entrances and exits

For entrances, we note the street intersection, and the nearest train platform.

For exits, we take the perspective of the rider on the train, and note nearest street intersection in relation to the car on the train.

Future iterations

Ecosystem of solutions

Access to Places will exist in a larger ecosystem of solutions

If our user interviews have tought us anything it is that real accessibility will require multiple solutions working in tandem.

The core of Access to Places is about how to structure transit information, we believe that it will scale smoothly to other cities.


Commutes via bus and subway.

Often asks two to three people for help.

While some times people are willing to help, this is more difficult during busier periods.

Some times even well-meaning people misdirect