City Slicker

Using persuasive techniques to encourage sustainable transit choices.
UX Designer
Sept. 2023 - Dec. 2023
4 months
UX Design
Behavioral Science
Most cities in the United States are designed for cars, not people. However, studies show people in walkable, people-centered cities tend to be happier and have a stronger sense of community. My team and I sought to investigate how we might encourage US cities to prioritize people over cars. The goal of the project was to utilize science-backed persuasive techniques to effectively create long-term behavior change.
What I Did
Through a series of expert interviews, multiple rounds of iterating and testing, and extensive background research, my team and I decided on several ways to utilize leading theories of persuasive design to effectively sway people towards transit choices like busses, biking, and walking.

My contributions to the success of the project included:
  • Conducting interviews with experts from state-level transit authorities.
  • Crafting inventive methods to test MVPs with users, such as simulations and gamification, to gather candid feedback on potentially sensitive subjects.
  • Designing compelling presentation materials and communication strategies to effectively convey the app's intricate nature and underlying psychology.
  • Wireframing the map and exploration features in the app at multiple levels of fidelity via Figma.
Using persuasive techniques like intermixing, obfuscation, social proof, and distancing, we created an app that encourages people to make sustainable transit choices - disguised as a city exploration app.

Users will find earnable badges and app features that aren't tied to public transit, ensuring persuasion attempts won't deter them. Moreover, the app offers humorous negative badges for less sustainable actions like frequent car usage, using dark humor to make users feel at ease when confronted with such behaviors. The social aspect allows users to witness their friends making sustainable transit choices and earning rewards, establishing descriptive norms that motivate users towards eco-friendly living.
Final Design