That Worked: Citymapper

Industry Insights


As a city dweller with a self-confessed poor sense of direction, I am perpetually glued to my smartphone when it comes to navigating any city. So when I was recommended Citymapper –  a free and user-friendly app designed with people like me in mind – I was quick to download and see what the fuss was about. Needless to say, I can’t remember the last time I made my way somewhere without it! Here’s why:

User-centric design

The fact that once I had typed in my desired destination, every plausible route (and one implausible one –  ‘jetpack’ – which I will refer back to) shows on one single page was really appealing, and also very useful. This method means that the user can not only see a route for each transport method, but also how long each of these respective routes will take, and all on one page – an intuitive design allowing for time-poor travellers to make snap decisions.

The human approach

When working with technologies such as apps, it is an important and particular skill for brands to use a language for humans rather than robots. All too often, tech brands employ an intimidating lexicon full of industry-specific jargon that can alienate their user. With the human approach, customers are convinced to pay attention, and therefore immediately feel more affiliated with the brand. Citymapper’s crafty and subtle use of humour throughout the user journey, for example its option to travel by ‘jetpack’, is a great example of a brand communicating effectively with its audience.

Positive partnerships

Partnerships are key to customer longevity, and CityMapper hit the nail on the head with their user-friendly partnerships. By firstly pairing up with Uber, the modern day black cab, CityMapper managed to make the customer’s (literal and metaphorical!) journey that much easier, by removing the need to switch apps to travel by Uber. Their second partnership, with Apple Watch, also proved to be equally as successful. Reports show clearly that Apple Watch’s target audience unsurprisingly live in big and crowded cities. By being one of the first apps available on Apple Watch, and by tailoring their UX design to match the watch’s functions, CityMapper effectively aligned themselves with their target market and drastically increased their global reach by partnering with a world-renowned brand.

By Grace Lee, Account Executive at Studio Black Tomato