OPUS app

Improving the UX of reloading Opus Cards


Sunny Yu (Team Member)



This was a personal project and is in no way affiliated with STM



After living in montreal for a few weeks, It was the first of the month and I needed to reload my opus card using the kiosk at the station. I observed the very long waiting lines at the metro stations and this usually occurred every month. One contributing factor is that users have no other viable alternatives for reloading.


UI Design, UX Design, Page building, User Research, Built Site Maps & IA Diagrams, Created Wireframes & Prototypes, Performed User Testing


To develop a self-service application for reloading opus cards.

The process

I rely on  Design Thinking as a process for developing solutions. In reality projects don’t follow a linear methodology, but for the purposes of the case study, I  broke down the various tasks performed into these stages:


Getting valuable information about the users involved picking the Right Research. Some of the research methods used were Surveys,Semi Formal Interviews, Stakeholder Maps, Journey Maps, AEIOU

Taking a few minutes to observe the environment of the metro helped us understand what activities they performed and how they interacted with the STM kiosks. This research method was used because simply involved observing from the background, taking photos and making key notes.


To ensure the maximum reach the surveys were set up in both English and French. We Set up Google forms with a set of questions which were a combination of open-ended and multiple-choice questions. Surveys were used because we did not have to physically meet with the users, we created posters with QR codes  and  pasted them in strategic locations.

Open Ended Questions

Users were able to express their frustrations and needs when we provided them with open ended questions like;
What is the most frustrating thing about reloading your opus card?

"The long lines on the 1st of every month"

"I have to go to the kiosk every time"

"Both self-service OPUS app and online reloading option without the card reader would be fantastic. It’s actually ridiculous we cannot reload our card online at this digital age"

"Wish it was automatic"

"Both self-service OPUS app and online reloading option without the card reader would be fantastic. It’s actually ridiculous we cannot reload our card online at this digital age"

Journey Map

Our main aim was to   solve problems that occur in the user’s experience. Therefore Journey maps were  used to identify opportunities for improvement in the users experience of reloading the opus card. We identified the emotions, activities, touchpoints as the user achieves their goal.

Jobs To be Done

Why personas were not used.

We understood there were a lot of differences between our users, the only thing they had in common is that they needed a way to reload their opus cards on their own in order to avoid the long waiting lines. Therefore using a persona was too specific and would have narrowed our scope. Using “Jobs to be done” as a guide it was clear that products are better defined by the job they do than the customers they serve.

Our Finding

After gaining some understanding of the users, we also did some more research about the available means of reloading the opus card.The two available means of reloading the opus card are:

The Kiosk

This is the most common method of reloading. However this could be challenging on the first/end of the month because of the long waiting lines.

Online  using the Card Reader.

This alternative was the least popular as 7% of our survey participants use this method. Most users are not aware of this alternative. The challanges with the method is that users need to purchase an additional device which will need to be connected by USB to a computer. It also requires the user to install a plugin before it can be use

Because of the waiting lines most users would prefer to reload their cards without physically going to the station


How might we?

After gathering information about the users and their needs we derived a problem statement using 'How Might We'. This  served as a guide during the ideation phase to keep us focused.

How might we improve the opus card reload experience.


Starting from rough sketches

Making rough sketches early on helped me visualize the pages in their simplest form with out committing to any specific design decisions.

Mapping out the flows

Wireframes provided a quick way to advance the design process without placing a lot of emphasis on the branding and design. Sketches were converted to wireframes to have a mental picture of the layout and placement of key UI Components within each screen.


High Fidelity Prototypes

A snapshot of other High Fidelity prototypes for a few screens. High Fidelity Prototypes brought me as close as I could get to the real life site before starting the development phase.


Usability Testing

Further Usability Testing is required to get feedback from users. This will guide us in create better iterations of the product to make it more useable.

Video available on desktop view

Looking Foward


Working on this project helped me improve my User Research skills. I was able to explore various methods and combine them to obtain valuable insight about the user that guided the design of the solution.


Further User Testing, Exploring additional ways to improve user experience.