SNCF Direct live web app

A real-time web application where users can browse and add their own photo to the SNCF media awareness campaign (2010)

      Video explaining campaign and how the application was part of a wider context


The problem: SNCF wished to raise awareness for their new SNCF Direct service whereby users can find real-time information about train departure and arrival times on the web, mobile app and via telephone. The idea was tied to the advertising campaign where everyday people were depicted as station staff, a visual metaphor for being in control of timetables. The digital component of the campaign should take this concept further and let users become part of the campaign by uploading photos of themselves wearing the SNCF cap and consulting the latest contributions in real time.

Design Process

Since this was a campaign app, brand needs took center stage and user-centred design wasn't the best approach, so I chose to focus on user tasks, goals and information visualisation. The motivation for using the app was to have fun with one's identity, playing on how we portray ourselves to others. The business objective was to drive awareness and adoption of the SNCF Direct service across the different channels (web, mobile, telephone).

Information visualisation: communicating the notion of a real-time stream of information

Thinking about possible usage and data flows

Task flow diagram, wireframes

Visual design by the Art Director


Aditionnaly to participating online, during the campaign period were deployed booths manned with professional photographers at SNCF train stations across the country so people could have their professional photos taken and uploaded to the site. Conceived to drive awareness of SNCF mobile application, 20k people participated with their photo and the app received more than 200k visits.

The web app reached its stated objectives of reaching more than 100k users, spreading the message about the SNCF Direct services. Users who participated and had their photo taken engaged with SNCF at an emotional level, a rare occurrence given its utilitarian nature, changing their relationship with the train service. The goal of creating a memorable experience shared by hundreds of thousands was achieved.