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Amtrak Rider Mobile App

Amtrak, the national rail operator, provides passenger railroad service to 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces. The Amtrak Rider app allows for passengers to check the status of their train, book tickets, update reservations, and board the train using your eTicket.

Client: Amtrak / U.S. Department of Transportation
Project Duration: 3 months
Platform: Mobile
Tools: Sketch, Invision, & Adobe Illustrator 
Launch Date: April 2017

 

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The Goal

Optimize the Amtrak booking web experience for mobile.

 

The Challenge

We only had three months to design, develop, and conduct quality assurance. In this unusual circumstance, this project was orginially designed by two of our most senior designers, but after much deliberation, the client decided to not go forth with the direction that was presented. Even after already going through several months of user research, wireframing, rounds of design iterations, the client then began to create their own vision of the app, but sought our design consulting once more. 

With only three months left, I was handed the responsibility to take the client's iterations and collaborate to create the best workflow combining complex Amtrak guidelines and modern mobile app practices, create prototypes for client approval, and a style guide.

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My Role

A junior-level designer at the time, I led the visual design team collaborating with project managers, engineers, and the clients directly. Upon completion of this project, I was promoted to consultant-level Visual Designer.

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The design of a style guide provided a clear layout of the differences in UI components between Android and iOS for the development team and our stakeholders to view. 

Challenges Along the Way

In this unusual circumstance, this project was orginially designed by two of our most senior designers, but after much deliberation, the client decided to not go forth with the direction that was presented. Even after already going through several months of user research, wireframing, rounds of design iterations, the client then began to create their own vision of the app, but sought our design consulting once more.

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Process

In addition to building out layouts, we needed to create interactive prototypes to seek approval of design decisions and communicate microinteractions with engineers. To fully prepare our engineers with detailed specifications, I had to compose a thorough style guide using iOS Human Interface Guidelines, Android's Google Material Design, as well as building based on the Ionic Framework. 

With patience, constant communication, and efficient client and design team collaboration, we were able to meet our pressed deadlines and the app was launched on the App Store and Google Play in April 2017. 

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Lessons Learned

The first iteration of the design system was created in less than 3 weeks by 3 designers juggling multiple projects at the same time. With that small foundation, we were able to create sweeping changes and introduce usability improvements to virtually every product area.

Being responsible for building a system from scratch has shown me the depth of thinking involved in crafting each small piece, and how doing all this thinking up front will save the team so much time later down the road!

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