Tyler — Product Designer based in Oakland, CA

thoughtbot’s year-end celebration is a two-day hackathon lovingly called Ralphapolooza (not to be confused with Ralphcella). The vast majority of our office took BART to and from work, so I worked with Jacob Turino on a way to help us catch our trains without having to open an app.

We had two days to produce something, so we spent the first day designing and the second day prototyping. We started by trying to answer “When is my train coming?” but learned from our user interviews that the real problem was “When should I leave to catch my train?”.

That slight shift in our problem changed our whole product. We prototyped a simple three light system, showing users when they should start walking to the station, and when they needed to leave immediately.

Our office has a ton of framed art, so our final design was framed and kept super minimal to better fit in with its surroundings.

RoleUX, Prototyping, Hardware Design Forthoughtbot SF

Bart Thing prototype! We left this on in the middle of the office and people actually started using it 🙌🏾

Some early concepts for the final version. We played around with different ways to represent time.

The final mock for bart thing. The line direction mimics the BART line, with our office in the center. Each train has an LED based on the color of the train line. Trains that have passed the red line are too close to the station to get to in time.

The completed Bart Thing! Photographing LEDs is hard. The hardware sits behind the frame.