Bus Turnaround Campaign

Building a compelling case for grassroots change, with clear calls to action.

Led by the Bus Turnaround Coalition—a group of four New York-based transit advocacy organizations—the Bus Turnaround Campaign is an effort to fix the city’s unreliable bus service by mobilizing New Yorkers to pressure elected officials to enact a list of policy demands. The Coalition engaged Objective Subject to design a responsive website to be the public face of the campaign. I guided all phases of design, including Information Architecture, User Experience, Interaction Design, and Visual Design.

Date: Fall 2017

Problem

The Bus Turnaround Coalition had a site that made critical information hard to find. Worse, it didn’t read as a campaign. We were given an open-ended mandate to reimagine it.

The previous site’s information architecture was confusing. It didn’t effectively introduce the campaign, explain why better bus service is critical, articulate policy demands, or help repeat visitors find the specific information they came for. It included performance metrics for individual bus lines, but failed to relate statistics back to riders’ experience on the ground.

Process

We needed to curate the right content for a campaign site, then give it an appropriate form—one that would lead visitors through a narrative: problem to solution to action.

We started a collaborative brainstorm with the Coalition to determine which new content would bolster the campaign. The Coalition had powerful rider stories submitted by the public, which we proposed featuring on the site to put a human face to the problem. We proposed giving each bus line a letter grade based on performance, which would make the many failures across the system visible and encourage people to look up their own line. We recommended making the statistics more accessible by putting them in context—for instance, comparing each line’s average speed with bus speeds in other cities. Finally, we proposed expanding the Coalition’s six policy demands onto distinct terminal pages to let them breathe, and be deep-linkable via social media.

Once the content sections were coming in to view, we needed a form to organize them. We took an inventory of effective campaign sites. We especially liked LA2028 for its linear storytelling structure, which encourages visitors to scroll from start to finish—with shortcut navigation always at hand.

Site map iteration

Finally, we iterated a site map with the Coalition to pin down the order of the campaign’s content sections. A narrative arc emerged: problem to solution. But we realized that what was missing were the ‘ends’: first, what’s the problem that the campaign is trying to fix, and last, how can visitors to the site support the campaign and get involved? We added a Buses in Crisis intro about the vicious cycle of New York’s declining bus ridership, and a clear Get Involved section with contact information and upcoming events.

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Solution

Our immersive, long-scroll site establishes a linear narrative that builds momentum as users progress down the page—culminating with a clear call-to-action to get involved.

First we describe the problem and establish the stakes, then we relay rider woes to pack an emotional punch and make the consequences of poor bus service clear. Then we strike an optimistic note by listing solutions, and finally empower visitors to change the status quo with accessible data and clear calls to action. We make the campaign visceral and emotional with full-width video punctuated by bold graphics. It’s an open-ended tool the Coalition can use to introduce the Bus Turnaround Campaign to New Yorkers, and get them involved.

Home – pt. 1
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pt. 3
Policy Solution
Bus Report Card