Hyperloop One App mock
Moving the travel experience forward with

Virgin Hyperloop One

Overview

Type: Mobile App Design (Student Project)
Role: User Research, Strategy, Visual Design
Hyperloop One is a conceptual transit system that aims to revolutionize the speed at which people can travel. But in order to compete in a digitally-streamlined travel industry, Hyperloop One needs a digital platform that allows passengers to research, book, and stay updated on their trips. As a class project, my team of four was asked to design a companion application for Virgin’s Hyperloop One.  

The Problem

Hyperloop One is an entirely new mode of transportation. The question that needed to be asked was,"How do we incorporate established methods of human travel within Hyperloop One's new system?".

The Approach

Our goal was to understand the conceptual system of Hyperloop One and create a companion application that streamlined a traveler's experience through this new system.

What is Hyperloop One?

Hyperloop One pod
Hyperloop One is a mass-transit system that will integrate with the existing transport ecosystem, connecting metropolitan areas across the world. Their biggest initiative is to create high-speed pods capable of traveling over 700 miles an hour. Passengers will travel through “portals” or stations to board a pod at their respective terminals. The ultimate goal is to match the frequency of a subway, with pods coming and going every few minutes.
Concept pod. Image from hyperloop-one.com
Hyperloop portal concept
Conceptual portal station. Image from hyperloop-one.com

Understanding The Traveler

Since Hyperloop One remains a conceptual vision, we had to find a similar experience that best resembled the potential journey of the traveler. We conducted a contextual inquiry at a local metro station to understand the various touch points and tasks a traveler experiences during a trip.
Drawing inspiration from our contextual inquiry, we then created our own Hyperloop One portal. We used this space to physically manifest the conceptual touch points that would be involved. By doing so, we had a tangible idea of the traveler's journey and could design a companion app relevant to the Hyperloop One experience.
makeshift portal
makeshift portal
makeshift portal
makeshift portal

Key Insights

User interviews helped round out our research and we found three consistent steps associated with the travel experience: researching the feasibility of a trip, booking a ticket, and staying informed on the status of the trip. Amidst this multi-stepped and labor-intensive process, people valued the efficiency of organizing the necessary tasks and information in one place.
research icon
booking icon
updates icon
"research"
"book"
"update"
Destinations
Schedules
Price
Duration
Payments
E-tickets
Profile account
Manage trips
Status updates
Next arrivals
Terminal changes
Delays

The Design

With the user and context in mind, we began ideating solutions for our design. We prioritized a list of features that would best tackle the responsibilities of researching, booking, and staying updated. Our process was a constant back and forth between iterating in design studios and usability testing in our makeshift portal.
hyperloop one app
hyperloop one app
Research
Before going anywhere, the traveler needs to know if Hyperloop One can get them from location A to location B. This consists of knowing where Hyperloop One operates, how much the fare is, and how long it will take. Our first touch point allows the traveler to conduct the appropriate research before anything else.
Booking
Hyperloop One works like a rapid metro system. The goal is to have pods come and go at the frequency of a subway. Therefore, we designed our ticket to work as seamless as a metro card. But rather than having to load a card with fare money, the traveler's account would be linked to a payment source. Every time the traveler completes a trip, they would be charged accordingly.
hyperloop one app
hyperloop one app
hyperloop one app
hyperloop one app
Updates
Many aspects of traveling are unfortunately outside the control of the traveler. From delays to terminal changes and emergencies, a lot can happen during a trip. However, people don't like being out of control or being left in the unknown. Therefore, we wanted to focus on an experience that was informative and up to date. We included features like push notifications for real time updates as well as a live progress tracker. Most importantly, the app recognizes where a traveler is along the journey and changes to a relevant screen, such as terminal and next departure info once they arrive at the portal.

Prototype

Reflection

The biggest challenge of this project was working with a concept idea of Hyperloop One rather than a tangible and existing experience. We found ourselves struggling with our own individual interpretations of what Hyperloop One could be. We decided to tackle this problem by making a makeshift portal in our very own classroom. It was a fun experience having our classmates walk through the portal while using our app. From this, I learned that an experience can be recreated and tested within an economical and makeshift model of the real experience. Although the interactions were not as nuanced as a real experience, we got feedback for the larger concepts that would eventually shape the Hyperloop One system.

Team
Katherine Tsui
George Economou
Harrison Buckley
Daniel Tak