Re-designing public transport system in Mumbai for people with disabilities

We had a series of design challenges within our company to evangelize the importance of Design thinking. Below are the slides from my winning presentation.

Design thinking is a competitive differentiator and companies not leveraging it are at the risk of falling behind.

Design thinking is about empathizing with the user and solving their pain. For this, one has to understand who are the user, what are their needs. Needs can be both, physical and emotional. The best way to understand a users needs is to engage with them, observe them, & try to find their stated & unstated needs.

Experience what users experience. That is the best way to deeply understand what users are going through.

We used to do a lot of accessibility work for our product deliverable for our US clients. Designing accessible solutions meant that people with visual disabilities could use our software. To understand the experience of a visually disabled user, I used to test our software with my eyes closed.




Deeply Engage with Users –

Engaging with users in their homes, or places of work gives you actionable insights that could lead to breakthrough innovation. This could even save you tons of money building features that users are not interested in.

We recently found after extensive user research at consumer homes, that a feature we were very keen to build, was really considered useless by users.

How do we validate our ideas with consumers before costly builds? Fodder for another article.


Role Play

Get into character and experience what the users are experiencing. learn more about it atIDEO.



So that we know where to focus our efforts.

Data will ensure that you don’t bark up the wrong tree


Think Systems- Not piecemeal


Design for the complete Ecosystems



Use Personas to Create Empathy

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Ideate Solution – Write before drawing


Story Board

You don’t need to be an Artist. Just get the ideas across


  1. Visually challenged user informing the walking stick about his destination
  2. Walking stick giving blind user directions
  3. Walking stick alearting the user about a change in elevation, thus making him aware that there is a footpath ahead
  4. Walking stick informing the user about the bus stop
  5. Vehicle identifying the smart stick and sliding the ramp to the blind user.

Audio Enabled Kiosk that is accessible

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As you see, understanding users and empathizing with them can do wonders and change our society for the better. How can we take this further?