CLIENT: Ventra (Hypothetical)
Instructors: Tomoko Ichikawa and Jody Campbell
Overview
Brief
Many public transit riders in Chicago pay fares using the city’s Ventra Card system, but the existing Ventra kiosk design lacks visual hierarchy and clarity. For a communication design course project, I was tasked with designing a new kiosk interface.
Project Phases
Process
Discover
Given the project’s short 3-week timeframe, much of our inquiry consisted of guerilla research. I spent a few hours in train stations with two other students, observing and intercepting both riders and employees.
INITIAL Finding #1: "People don't read."
As observed by one CTA employee, riders usually ignore the dense instructions printed on the kiosks.
INITIAL Finding #2: Experience matters.
Experienced riders practically had their button presses memorized. New riders read each screen carefully.
Define
As a class, we pooled our findings and formulated key insights through affinity mapping. We used the 5 E's framework to investigate the entire rider experience, both before and after using the kiosk.
"Entice" brainstorming
"Entice" brainstorming
"Enter" brainstorming
"Enter" brainstorming
"Engage" brainstorming
"Engage" brainstorming
"Exit" brainstorming
"Exit" brainstorming
"Extend" brainstorming
"Extend" brainstorming
Workshop Photo: Adding stickies to each of the 5 E's
Workshop Photo: Adding stickies to each of the 5 E's
Workshop Photo: Naming each cluster of stickies
Workshop Photo: Naming each cluster of stickies
Photo Credit: Jody Campbell

Through our workshop, we identified two key issues a faceplate change could solve:
Issue #1: Unclear Process
The current kiosk design makes it difficult to understand the "order of operations" necessary to pay your fare.
Issue #2: Information Overload
The overall density of the existing instructions makes them difficult to scan, causing riders to skim instructions or skip them altogether.
Develop
Faceplate
Using these insights, I developed a new kiosk faceplate in InDesign.​​​​​​​
Original design
Original design
My redesign
My redesign
Addressing Issue #1: Unclear Process ➡️ Clear Sequence
In the redesign, the steps to purchase a Ventra card are communicated through labelled zones.
Original design
Original design
My redesign
My redesign
Addressing Issue #2: Information Overload ➡️ Straightforward Choices
The new top panel uses images and larger fonts to improve reading order and scannability.
Original design
Original design
My redesign
My redesign
Digital UI
I also prototyped a new digital UI for the kiosk using Figma.
Addressing Issue #2: Information Overload ➡️ Straightforward Choices
The new interface consolidates verbose options to reduce decision fatigue.
Original design
Original design
My redesign
My redesign
Additionally, the redesigned dollar amount input reduces the need for mental math (one train ride costs $2.50).
Original design
Original design
My redesign
My redesign
Future Opportunities
If given additional time, I'd love to do additional work on this topic—both to evaluate the solution I created and to better understand kiosk users.
Possible Research Questions:
Which Ventra riders tend to use kiosks over other options? Why?
How successful is this design in facilitating frictionless Ventra purchases? (see below)
Potential Metrics: Total time to purchase, Number of errors, Bounce rate, Dollars spent
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