F the MTA - a website for local transit news
I designed a mobile-first site for sharing transit related news and happenings in NYC's public transit network. Hypothetically in practice the site can be found through strategically placed QR codes as well as hidden NFC tags dispersed throughout the MTA system.
It was my hope that this web app might serve as the prototype or vehicle for greater, more inclusive transit activisms. See the site here.
For this project, I started out the website design with some graphite sketches. The look of this site was meant to be mysterious, so I had to tell that story with my typography and color choices. The final design provides an intriguing framework, which is in line with an effort to subvert the governance of the transit system. I enjoyed the pairing of the very thin but blobbish serif display font with the petite sans serif body text.
Many sites have dropdown 'hamburger' menus today, so it can be important to stand out on their execution. This dropdown menu displays in a contrasting inverted black text on yellow design, which thanks to font choices carries the simple elegance of a post-it note.
Report an Incident
Users would be able to input their own reports, and classify them with a related station or transit line. Using this other network users could keep track of what is going on in their neighborhood's commutes.
Activists and residents could use a service like this to let people know about ICE checkpoints and other law enforcement activities as well. Subway performers and local food vendors could give specific performance times and sales locations to target passerby.
The website is kept locally relevant through its distribution by QR codes placed within the area around a station. Travelers would be able to post reports of incidents, personal ads, and other pertinent information related to subway events.
The site could also be distributed using NFC chips placed near OMNI readers, where riders would naturally scan with their phones anyway.
This page houses phone numbers to call in case of a variety of emergencies and inquiries related to the MTA. All the phone numbers are clickable for direct phone calls on mobile.
Since the purpose of this site is to make transit more accessible, this page even links to the application for reduced subway fare, a little-known service available to many New Yorkers.
What you can do to help
There are simple things all of us can do to make the social experience of travel better for everyone. This page gives some tips that some people might not know to help make everyone safer on public transport.
Overall it was so exciting to see people's reaction to receiving a whole localized website over QR code. Hanging down from the rafters of the Astor Pl entrance was the code to this site, and as we gathered some commuters stopped to scan it.
It was great to create a simple relevant niche website from scratch, and I learned a lot about environmental interaction design. While F the MTA was made for local users of transportation, it's interesting to see the model applied to homeowners on national scale by companies today.
Since the time of this site's creation, we have witnessed the rise of Nextdoor, an app made specifically for networking with nearby neighbors. People complain about noise beside others baking homemade cakes, politicians squabble with homeowners. A local community, all online.