Bart kiosk redesign case study

UI and usertesting practice for California Bart kiosk

Problem Statement

Redesign the User Interface (UI) for the BART Kiosk. The design should respond to insights and opportunities identified in the field.

It was a quick UI redesign practice done by the team of two.

My Role

Interviews, User interface design, usertesting

Full Report →


Note: This is only a UI & Usertesting project, hence the research was quick and dirty. And may/will be skewed.

The research (secondary, interviews — undercover agent) was quick and dirty. We pretended to be lost tourists, confused about how to use the machine. People were friendly and offered to help. They took us through some of the main steps and some advice.

a) Ryan — 30–35yrs, student, male b) Dave — 35 years, banker, male c) Sucharita — 24 years, student, female

Research Observations

  1. Most people using the Bart Kiosk were regular commuters familiar with the system but it is very difficult to use for first-time user.
  2. The default amount it deducts is $20.00 which is difficult to understand for first time user.
  3. New users assume it is a touch screen.
  4. Two commuters were referring to the Tariff table(outside the screen) while simultaneously adjusting the fare amount they needed to pay.
  5. Another commuter wanted to add $60.00 to his ticket. However, the system required him to increase the amount only by pressing $1.00 or 5 cents button many times.

Key Insights

  • First time users are confused and reluctant to use the high default value of $20
  • Adding and editing the fare amount is tedious and frustrating.
  • Locating the destination station and its fare amount can be hassle.
  • People are either in hurry or are conscious of the queue behind them, due to which they try to make it quick.

How might we

1. enable regular users to add or edit fare amount by making it intuitive and quicker?
2. assist new users in finding the destination station by immersing the search location experience within the screen?
3. help commuters with refilling their ticket by creating the buying ticket experience as quick as possible?

User flow

a) Initial Flow b) Proposed flow


Interface Design



Home page — a) Buy ticket b) Refill old ticket c) Book ticket to most visited place instantly
a) Type in amount directly or Search fare by station name b) Search station from Map, table or textual search c) Add multiple tickets with same amount and make it one way or a round trip


We tested our prototype with 8 users remotely (via and 5 in-person and later incorporated the insights we gathered to redesign the kiosk screens.

A sample usertest from

In-person usertesting

In addition to other questions, two major tasks for usertesting included:

  1. Task 1: Buy a new ticket
  2. Task 2: Refill an old ticket

Implementation and Results 

11 out of 13 users completed both tasks within 30 secs. And 12 out of 13 were able to complete both tasks successfully.

For Task 1 (i.e. Buying a new ticket), number of clicks to complete the task were 8. And after implementing our finding from remote testing, the number of clicks reduced to 4. Similarly, for task 2, number of clicks reduced from 5 to 4. 

In remote testing, 2 out of 8 users said the task had medium difficulty while after implementing our findings, no user claimed medium difficulty but either easy or very easy. No one said the tasks were difficult or very difficult.

Search-ability: From remote testing, we figured that most of the users wanted to search using station table but as it wasn’t fully prototyped therefore they end up using textual search. Later, after prototyping all three type of search — station table, bart map and textual search, we determined that 50% used station table, 37.5% used map search while only 12.5% used textual search.

Quotes from users


Refill ticket
Search using Station Table
Search on map
Search station by name or by any nearby location

New screens:

User-testing results document

Final Prototype link:

Full Report →

Hope this exercise helps you understand the process and that you learned something new, as I did. Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.