NYC Subway Time
How it all began
I had been using the MTA's app for a while, but each day I used it I got increasingly frustrated with its clunkiness, its asymmetry, its lack of features, and its overall lack of finesse.
This frustration is what prompted me to create NYC Subway Time, an app that was originally intended just for me but that has passed 1,000 downloads on the App Store.
In creating this app, I kept closely in mind the reasons for my creating it in the first place: utility and aesthetic.
If you swipe right on the main page pictured at the top, you find this map. Zooming in, circles appear, which you can tap to quickly open a station. If you allow Location Services in your privacy settings, the map opens zoomed to your location to allow quick access to the station you are nearest to.
This map is the first component of the app that exemplifies both the utility and aesthetic that I aimed to achieve.
Also accessible from the main page is the continuously updated service status. If you tap on an alert in this list, it expands to provide more detail. If a specific line has alerts, an icon appears on top of its symbol, as shown in the image below. These alerts can be viewed by tapping the icon.
As you can see, the subway was not working well at all on May 15th.
Select a line
When a line is selected on the main screen, you are taken to its page where all the stations are. If there are service status alerts, an icon is displayed on top of the line's symbol, as shown in the image above.
This sleek design maintains usability, speed, and looks without sacrifice.
When a station is tapped in the lines page, this page opens. Here are displayed the next four trains arriving in each direction. The top section shows the uptown platform, and the bottom downtown.
To favorite a station, simply press the star beside the platform.
One of NYC Subway Time's most significant features is the ability to favorite a platform. To favorite a platform, simply press the star beside it when you open a station.
There is an important distinction between favoriting a platform instead of a station: You may live around the Union Square station, but chances are that you nearly always only go either uptown or downtown every workday. This distinction becomes more apparent in the widgets, which are explained below
Above is the widget, maybe the most useful part of this entire app. Widgets display the next two trains to arrive at your favorited stations. The widgets are continuously updated.
The widget is so useful because you can access it without even unlocking your phone. Simply swipe right on the lock screen and–voila–you know when your train is arriving. Because you do not need to even unlock your phone–let alone open the app, press the line, and find the station–this widget is a huge time saver.
The widget has one more useful feature you should know about: time settings.
Time settings are yet another trick this app offers to save time during your commute. They achieve this feat by simply making you read less, a principle which seems obvious but is often not practiced.
If you swipe left on a platform in your favorites, you are taken to the above page, where you can set if a station is shown in your widgets in the morning, the afternoon, or both. In practice, this means you would see only the platforms you go to during your morning commute in the morning, and the same for your afternoon commute.
This feature saves you time because you no longer have to do this filtering yourself while you are rushing to catch your train.