Ironhack Prework-Challenge 1 : Design Thinking

If you don’t know Citymapper yet, (but I’m quite sure you do), be aware that this public transit and mapping app could change your daily life. Citymapper solves your urban mobility issues, by offering you the quickest and cheapest public and private transport itineraries.

The startup has now expanded to 60+ cities in more than 10 countries around the world and it is on the way to more cities on its map!

Citymapper application — London

Although the current application already solves main of urban mobility issues, this first Ironhack challenge tends to analyse and solves one pain point : the different amount of public transport tickets users have to purchase to go from A to B.

Users interviews

I interviewed 5 people, who either use public transportation every day or from time to time. I also divided the interviews into two parts : “the use of public transportation in daily life” and “the use of public transportation abroad”. Indeed, behaviors and needs are not the same in either situation.

You can find here the type of questions asked to define users main pain point(s) :
- How often do you use public transportations?
- What kind of public transportation do you use?
- What do/don’t you like about public transportations?
- How do you feel about foreign public transportations?
- Is there anything keeping you from travelling with public transportations while abroad? If yes, what?
- How do you define your itinerary to go from A to B?
- How do you feel about buying tickets?

Define the pain point

If you don’t guide the interview to this issue, purchasing tickets is not a main pain point.

“I hate taking the subway. It’s too stressful, crowdy, noisy… If I can avoid taking it, I do”.

Parisians tend to avoid the subway and use alternative transportation, such as bikes, Lime scooters, electric bikes, etc.

“When I’m in a foreign country, I prefer to walk, use a bike, or order a cab. I have more time and money to spend than I do in my daily life because i’m on holidays. I don’t use public transportation very often while travelling”.

Obviously, according to the people I interviewed, purchasing tickets is less an issue than the public transportation popularity ratings. There is not much I can do to change that. Therefore I oriented the questions on the use of public transportations & itinerary applications.

All parisian respondents (4/5) told me that they never use the RATP application. They use Citymapper, and sometimes Google Maps or Plans. 3 reasons to that : Citymapper offers a good estimation of times & costs, multimodal routes, it’s quick & easy to use.
While going abroad, people don’t use the city’s public transportations app. First because they don’t necessarily know it, then because they prefer multimodal transportations, and the easiest and fastest way to know the route is via Google Maps or Citymapper.

As the ticket purchasing doesn’t come to my interviewers minds, I had to directly ask them how the feel about it. Once you’ve said it, of course all of them told me that buying tickets in the stations is a waste of time. They often have problem purchasing tickets on vending machines, that there is too much queue when they have to recharge their Navigo pass every month.
They all agree on this : being able to purchase tickets directly on the app would be a revolution.

One of the people I interviewed comes from Nantes. The public transportation application (TAN) already offers to purchase tickets directly on your phone. You can buy different kinds of tickets : 1h tickets, pack of 10 1h tickets, airport shuttle ticket, 24h tickets, 24h for 4 people tickets).
He uses it all the time. The annoying point is that he has to add his credit card or validate his purchase on his bank application every times, which is time consuming.

Users common pain point is the waste of time generated by public transportation


Lets find out how to stop wasting our time !

Regarding public transportations, we have a common problem : we waste too much time and energy using it.
Which leads us to our common objective : saving time and trouble.

The ideal Citymapper version would :

  • Give the user different itineraries, according to its transport preferences ✅
  • Give the user a price and time estimation ✅
  • Give the user the possibility to buy public transport tickets without leaving the app ➡️ let’s work on that
  • Give the user the possibility to dematerialize its ticket ➡️️ let’s work on that
  • Give the user the possibility to pay for every transportation directly in the application (bikes, lime scooters, taxi…) ➡️ that could be a work for another challenge !

How do I plan to do that ?

I plan on creating a new feature on Citymapper on the itinerary result page which enables people to buy a ticket, to choose a payment method card or wallet), and obtain a QR code as a digital card to travel.


(1) He user can access “MY TICKETS” heading since the beginning of the Citymapper experience.

(2)-(3) Itinerary definition

(4) Once having itinerary proposals, the user can chose to “GO” and start his journey (if he already has tickets or a monthly pass for exemple). He can also buy tickets directly in Citymapper.

(5) He the user choses “BUY TICKETS”, then he arrives in “MY TICKETS” heading. From here he can :
- access older purchases
- enter a ticket code received by a friend (who just bought 2 tickets on Citymapper for their city trip for exemple)
- access his wallet, where pre-payed tickets or passes are stocked
- buy new ticket(s)

(6) The ticket shop : the user can chose which type of ticket he needs, and how many (1h ticket, 1 day ticket, 1 month pass…). Once he selected the ticket(s), he clics on “ PAY XX€)

(7) Order summary and payment options. The user can chose how he prefers to pay : with his wallet, credit card, Lydia, Revolut.

(8) The user chose to pay with his wallet. He arrives in the “MY WALLET” heading, can see his balance, and add the new order, that will deduce the balance. If he doesn’t have enough money left in his wallet, he can recharge it. Once the order is paid, he can clic on “SEE MY TICKETS”.

(9) The user is back in “MY TICKET” heading, can see his order QR codes (ticket 1 and 2 here). He can send this QR code to a friend, and/or save the QR code on his phone.

To do this prototype, I inspired myself with the travel app I use : Lime, Uber, Oui.SNCF, and the Nantes public transportation app that I heard about during the interviews. All of them have some specificities and best practices that we can use !

Key learnings

This Challenge was very interesting. Especially the interview part, that helped me to see Citymapper differently. When you use an app everyday, it’s hard to see it with an other eye !
Then, I found it hard here to be “sure” of what I am doing. It’s the point of a pre-work you’ll say, to try things and correct them later once we will know better how to manage design thinking !

Thanks a lot for reading ! Can’t wait to learn more.

Let’s go to Challenge 2 !




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