Create a system that facilitates social interactions at bus stops.


Azalea Irani | Sharon Ang | Kaiwei Wang | Jian Ruan


User Researcher, Interaction Designer
During the research phase, I took the lead to create the interview protocol and analyse the data collected during the user research phase. Everyone participated equally in conducting the interviews, task analysis, in context surveys and literature reviews. During the design phase, we each individually came up with different ideas, got feedback for these ideas and decided on one idea. I created low fidelity prototypes for some of the ideas in the earlier part of the design phase. We then collaborated on the design of the final idea. Everyone participated in building the final product.


August 2016 - December 2016


First place in the Convergence Innovation Competition under the category "Smart Cities and Healthy Communities"



Research Questions

  • What activities do people currently engage in at the bus stop? Why?
  • What methods/tools do people currently employ while interacting with each other? Why?
  • Are there cultural or other factors that affects students’ perception of social interactions?
  • What encourages/discourages people from engaging in social interactions?

Research Methods


  • People subconsciously or consciously engage in one or more activities.
  • They are free to choose their activities
  • Activities vary a lot at an individual level.
  • Most common activities are using the phone or standing.

Literature Review

  • The perceived wait time were always longer than the actual wait times
  • People consider waiting at the bus stop for buses among the most unhappy moments of their life
  • People are happier after a conversation with stranger
  • Bus stops are third places i.e it is not work or home

In Context Survey

  • Most people use their phones while waiting for the bus.
  • Most people are not satisfied with the infrastructure.
  • People prefer to meet new people or interact with their friends.

Interviews was conducted with eight (8) of the survey participants in order to find out more about the motivation, reasons and rationale behind their survey answers. We used an affinity map to analyse the interview data. Refer to User Research document at the bottom of the page.


  • People do not like waiting at the bus stop as they get bored.
  • People sometimes use the time to engage in productive work.
  • People are dissatisfied with the infrastructure provided. 
  • They would  to interact with someone if they were stressed.
  • People would like to meet new people.
  • People would like to strengthen their existing relationships.


Behavioural Personas



To start generating ideas, we decided to have each of the team members to come up with 10 different ideas, each with a simple sketch and labels. For this phase, we did not restrict ourselves much in feasibility, cost, or platform. Instead, we made an effort to open our mind and embrace the creativity while keeping in mind the criteria we obtained from our previous user study so that we could get as many ideas flowing as possible.

We resorted to a simple voting session where we keep only the design ideas with greater than or equal to 3 votes from our 4 team members. Following that, we look at each remaining idea as a potential component of the actual design and try to combine them so that the combination is richer in its functionality and integrity. When we were carrying out the combining session, we made an effort to refer to the personas and make sure each personas’ need was addressed by at least one combination design. Before the design sprint, the team had 5 design ideas to present.

Design Sprint

  1. Tall Stand Game Table: a tall round table with hooks on the feet with a digital display as table top. The intention is three-fold. First, table with proper height can be leaned on. Second, hooks offer places to rest the bags students carrying on. Third, the capability of playing easy-to-engage game will draw people together, and the process of playing will trigger interaction.

  2. BrickWall: a digital installation composed of multiple cells mimicking bricks, with each capable of facilitating private information exchange. Finding a match in general is the single most important thing is social life. The idea is to work as a platform to help people find the right match by sharing a piece of information locked by customised question. The information to share and the question lock would come from initiator, and any person finds it interesting would have to give correct answer to unlock the piece of information. The question serve as personalised and effective filter.  

  3. Who’s Around-Location based Facebook Plug-in: a pure mobile phone application that can help students check who is at the same bus stop, and may have the chance to initiate conversation depending on the status set by the person of his/her interest permits.

  4. Emotion Reflective Digital Shelter: A digitised bus stop shelter in traditional shape and size. Students can check in their emotional feelings on the shelter display, and the input will be reflected on the changes of the content accordingly. The shelter wall display also serves as a canvas in the sense that students can fill in their desirable colours onto the content.

  5. Group Motion Synchronisation System: A system that can detect the motion of people and encourage synchronised motion for students as bus stops by giving rewards. The system is split into two parts. First is a network of force sensing strips built underneath the sidewalk tiles to detect force changes. Second is the display and processing unit putting together in a bus stop installation that reflect the level of synchronisation.


The "Jumping Tile" idea, which was a combination of "Emotion Reflective Digital Shelter" and "Group Motion Synchronisation System", was selected for prototyping.


3D Model



The following are the in depth reports of this project

Preliminary Research
User Research 
Design Alternatives