City Navigator

A problem to solve

Sales makers depend on public transit to travel between sales calls. Unpredictable delays caused missed appointments, causing lost sales. In this app concept, an app called City Navigator helps the sales maker coordinate public transport & personal calendar to factor in travel time. 


Design concept

This design tackles three imaginary scenarios:

No stress: The user has several meetings tomorrow, and needs to know how to plan his route.

Low stress: The user wants to book a new meeting today, but isn’t sure if he’ll have enough time.

High stress: The user is running late for a meeting because of a travel delay.


The user sees an agenda of the day’s events with estimated travel time. He know’s he’ll need to leave a buffer of time between one meeting to the next. Transit schedules are updated with the latest information.

Event view

A user can click on his first morning meeting and see details about who he’s meeting with, what he’ll discuss, and the location. He can see a plan for getting to and from the event so he knows how much time he needs for the trip.

Route plan

The user checks out how much time he’ll need to get to the cafe on time for his morning meeting. He can see a map of his route, and a step-by-step guide to taking transit. He can use his app offline so he can reference it when traveling in the subway.

Create event

The user is setting up a lunch meeting with a colleague. He enters in the details for their lunch and selects a time he thinks would work.

Route created

His schedule syncs with his trip planner and lays out a guide for getting from his previous meeting to lunch. He sees a warning that he may not have enough time to arrive on time. He doesn’t want lunch to run over into the next meeting.

Adjust schedule

AJ can clearly see how his lunch plan would make him late for his follow up meeting in the afternoon. He can choose to meet up for lunch a little earlier, because he expects his morning pitch meeting to end with time to spare. He accepts the proposed change to move the lunch a few minutes earlier.


End of day

The user is done with his last formal meeting and is meeting up with his client for a drink. He’s already en route when he sees that there’s a travel delay on his subway line. He doesn’t want to be late, so he sees what his options are.

Change plan 

Our user has a choice of adjusting his route to get off a stop earlier and walk to the bar, or to try and push back his meeting by a half hour. Alternately, he can cancel the appointment if he doesn’t want to keep his client waiting.


The user opts to adjust his travel route to arrive a few minutes late, but not as late as if he’d stuck to his original plan. He sees an updated map and trip steps to help him find his way to the bar on foot.


Visual design

For this exercise, I established a strong visual language to help make travel time feel very concrete instead of being invisible.Because most calendars focus on highlighting events, this app articulates the details of the journey, from transit information, walking times, and showing travel time before and after an event.

Mental model

I imagined giving as much attention the time between events as to the meetings themselves. In this way, the user can dedicate the right amount of time and energy to the journey, without underestimating. I created dedicated space in the calendar for the time spent traveling between events and tools to help avoid conflicts and respond to delays.



Design patterns for time and dates, icon and word pairing and illustrations of time.

A visualization of transit time as a unique event in between scheduled meetings.

The user can view his appointments and estimates for travel time between them, so he can have a realistic overview of his day.

He can dive into details of each appointment for notes on who he’s meeting with, topics of discussion, and the location of the meetup.

He can look at turn by turn navigation for walking and public transit in advance of his trip, so there are no surprises on the journey.

The user wants to take a client to lunch. He adds the event with the client’s name, location and time. 

His schedule shows him the events before and after the lunch, and calculates the time needed to travel between events. It shows that he’ll need to adjust his plan to avoid a conflict.

He accepts the recommended change in plan and books lunch for a few minutes earlier.

The user is stuck in transit and running late for his next client meeting. His schedule notifies him that he’ll be 20 minutes late if he continues on his current route.

He could adjust his travel by exiting the train sooner and walking to his destination or he can ask his contact to push back their meeting by a half hour.

The user can gracefully handle the delay in advance, so the client has a head’s up that he needs a little more time.


Background research

Quora had a plethora of commuting advice from real New Yorkers. Many used at least two apps to navigate through the city on transit and foot. They suggested such hacks as exiting a stop early and walking if the train was running too slow, or looking at the signal lights in the station to determine where the first car would stop. Special focus was paid to picking which train car to ride in order to align with the best exit at each stop. 

A multitude of existing solutions are available for navigating and managing a calendar and personal contacts. A few managed to integrate both. For a user who needs to take into account how much time is needed between appointments, a simple calendaring app falls short. Once a meeting is entered, I wanted the contact information to be used to create a transit plan between the two travel points automatically. This could then be monitored as delays or traffic happen in real time.

Few existing calendar solutions factor in travel time between one event and the next. One exception was Mapview, which helps the user plan their route between meetings and build in travel time.

Navigation solutions for NYC public transit focused on details like which train cars to board, which station exits to use, and notifying the user of delays in real time. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of apps that use NYC public transit data and deliver other layers of value on top.