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for Walking

Encourage commuters to integrate walking as part of their daily routine



While the existing tools that offer navigation suggestions are designed and built only around saving time, we want to exploit the value in local and personalized advice that comes from an actual human experience. This project aims to improve the walking experience for pedestrians by adding a layer of context, such as, time of the day, elevation, events around the area, etc. to ensure that the route suggested is not just the quickest one.

This project was done as a part of academic project for HCDE 518.

Role:   UX Designer

Responsible for user research, usability testing and prototyping. Conducting user surveys, interviews and analyzing research findings through affinity diagramming, user personas and user flows.

Collaborators: Rabab Rabbani| Gauri Nayak| Parag Nandi| Rouxi Shang

Timeline:   7 weeks (Oct - Dec 2021)

Understanding the Problem

Only 34% of Americans walk to their destinations as part of their day-to-day activities. The share of workers who commute to work by walking in the US is just 2.7%. One may ask what's keeping people from choosing walking as part of their daily routine? What are their inhibitions, concerns, and expectations while walking? And how can walking become a part of people's lifestyle and a more approachable medium of commute?

150 million+
Daily Commuters
walk for

How might we encourage commuters to integrate walking as part of their daily routine?


User Research

To validate our ideas, we conducted preliminary research including literature review, surveys, semi-structured interviews and guided tours.

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Surveyed 31 participants to understand their behavior and pain points during commute

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Interviewed 08 participants (5 males and 3 females) in the age range of 22 to 60

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Home to workplace guided tours with 02 participants to understand their commute routine and nuances

Research Data Synthesis

Once we had collected all the data through primary and secondary research, we externalized it on a Miro board to get a holistic picture, and make meaningful analysis. This process of viewing all information at one glance helped us connect research and derive research-based product direction

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Key Insights


People enjoy the flexibility of walking as they don't have to wait for transportation, and they can explore the surroundings

Untethered Flexibilty


Rain, harsh sun, uphill roads, safety concerns, construction on the route, etc. deter people from walking for commute

Managing External Deterrents


Walking alone is another concern especially at night. People prefer not walking alone as they are unaware of any unsafe routes

Safety Concerns


Users like walking for commute as it adds to their fitness activity, since most of the times they are sitting at work

Alternate Fitness


People choose their routes and commute mode based on time available, plans before/after work and their energy level

Convenient Decision Making

User Personas

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How did we arrive at a set of ideas to inform our design decisions?

  • We started with the primary persona (Flexible Daniel) and looked at his needs and frustrations, mapped them with insights from our user research, and then ideated in a group session to come up with solutions to resolve his problems.

  • Similarly, for the secondary personas (balance seeking Michelle and routine- oriented Mathew) we checked if any solutions that we had already discussed for Daniel could be extended or enhanced to meet their needs or resolve their frustrations and then ideated further to solve challenges unique to them.

  • Our final set of design solutions is a superset of ideas generated from the above activities.

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Brainstorming ideas on each sketch

After brainstorming on each idea and sketch, we voted on the individual sketches, we converged the similar concepts with the highest votes into three themes: Real-time Suggestion, Habit formation, and Walking coach.

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Design Goals

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Flexible Planning

Identify suitability of walking based on user's commute constraints and personal preferences and provide flexible navigation planning

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Real-time Suggestions

Proactively detect user's needs and challenges on-route and offers real-time suggestion

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Habit Formation

Understand the user's daily routine, identify opportunities to recommend walking and use rewards to form the habit

Early Explorations

After we agreed on the overall user task flows we were going to target that would solve the pain points uncovered in the research phase, we developed a broad information flow the product should follow to be intuitive and convenient for the users.

Design Highlights

Flexible Planning


Habit Formation


Real-time Suggestions: Near Destination


Reminder to Walk


Real-time Suggestions: Weather (rain)


Real-time Suggestions: Busy Intersection


Future Considerations

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Incorporating modes of commute beyond walking to include sub-cultures, e.g., skating, e-scooter/bikes, etc.


Personalizing the commute experience for people through AI-based suggestions and assistance.


Adding features for safety while commuting on foot especially at night.

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