Access Queens

Access Queens is a grassroots organization based in New York City, striving to improve subway transit and enforce responsible residential development in Queens. Founded in 2015, the organization has appeared in over 100 media publications and established relationships with transit and city officials.

Role Creative Director · Web Designer · Coder

Deliverables Brand Identity · Hi-fidelity Prototype · Print

Tools Photoshop · Illustrator · InDesign · Bootstrap

Timeframe 2 months

Agency Inhouse

The Problem

Queens residents struggle with a worsening public transit system that threatens their quality of life, income, and geographical access. Frustrated subway and bus riders want immediate service change updates, alternative travel routes, and the MTA to be held accountable for improving the customer experience.

"How do we help Queens residents navigate subway service interruptions and lead the charge for change in public transportation?"

Opportunity

  • Create subway line campaigns (separate from Access Queens) to attract riders based on the services they use.
  • Establish Access Queens as a parent organization with an identity that conveys the concept of local city transit without infringing upon the MTA’s intellectual property.
  • Establish the website as an online resource that informs and activates riders.
Key Performance Indicators
  • Increase social media followers.
  • Increase content shares, use of campaign hashtags, and mentions on social media.
  • Increase return visitors to the website’s survival guides.

Research

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Define

The defining stage included a solutions map.

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Ideate

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Branding

Identity

I designed a modern, but urban brand identity influenced by the subway system but did not infringe on the MTA’s intellectual property. For example, the “rail motif” — a graduated horizontal line that crosses the letterforms — represents the major subway lines that run through Queens. Other print communications are grittier in appearance, much like the art scene in Queens.

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UX Design

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Prototype

I created a responsive website for straphangers on the go that included content and tools to help navigate service interruptions. The most popular was the “7 Train Survival Guide” and calls-to-action to activate the Queens community using social media.

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Testing

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Results

  • Combined social media presences gained over 3,000 followers in less than a year.
  • Access Queens and the new website appeared on NBC New York, NY1, and Pix 11.
  • The responsive website allowed mobile users to file complaints with the MTA and 511 while on the go.
Lessons Learned
  • Riders see themselves as paying customers but don’t feel like the MTA treats or empathizes with them as such, underscoring the vast brokenness of the agency’s customer experience.
  • Riders understand that New York City has an aging transit system but have a job to be done: arrive at their destination on time. Regardless of the MTA’s financial challenges, customers expect transparency and communication.
  • The MTA responds well to professional and collaborative relationships.