King County Metro

Using the principles of inclusive design, I redesigned the priority seating zones on King County Metro Transit buses to give senior transit riders the back support they need to ride in comfort--without sacrificing space or seating. Transit riders receive no back support while their seats are faced to the side, and receive more back support when facing forward or backward to the flow of traffic.

King County Metro


Designing an Experience for Function, Empathy, Inclusion


UX Designer


Persona Spectrum, Wireframes, Spatial Design

User Research:

Core to a car seat's proper functioning is its forward alignment, which is designed to support the back of a passenger during acceleration. The introduction of side-facing priority seating zones for elderly and disabled passengers on King County Metro Transit buses leaves occupants without back support during both acceleration and deceleration. Senior transit riders are incentivized to occupy seating areas that don't provide the support they need, and instead end up using aspects of the environment not designed to support them.

Current Priority Seating Area

Under the existing designs currently implemented on King County Metro buses, no back support is provided by seating for customers in priority seating zones when accelerating or breaking. As observed in user research, passengers in these seats often find themselves clinging to their surroundings in order to gain the support they need. For elderly passengers, this can be uncomfortable, tiring and adverse to posture and health.

Redesigned Priority Seating Area

Under the redesigned priority seating zones, seats are arranged facing the flow of traffic. As the vehicle accelerates, forward-facing passengers receive back support keeping them firmly and effortlessly seated. As the vehicle decelerates, rear-facing passengers receive the same back support.

Persona Spectrum

Integral to inclusive design is the idea that designing toward accessibility for the excluded can lead to better designed experiences for everyone. Inclusive design points to three types interaction constraints that can define user types: permanent, temporary and situational disability. Thinking in terms of who would be excluded in each of these scenarios, solving design challenges for the one can lead to solutions for many.

Persona spectrum iconography c/o Microsoft Inclusive Design.