As an economical and green way of transportation, public bike is getting increasingly popular among cities around the world. To better serve citizens, more and more public bike companies begins to realize how much a convenient mobile application can benefit the industry.
I still remember the day when I was riding a public bike and suddenly got thirsty. I needed to look for a bike station with a convenience store close by, so that I could buy a bottle water while the bike was safely parked. The process was hard but I was thus inspired to think how the user experience of the public bike sharing app could be improved by taking more real-life troubles that a user might encounter into consideration. I then talked to my friends about my concern and found that some of them also experienced similar situations while using the public bike sharing app. Given that we were mostly students and young professionals, I wanted to provide a public bike sharing app solution especially for them.
Provide a public bike sharing app solution to students and young professionals with improved user experience by taking more real-life situations into consideration.
Based on my own experience and some limited feedback from my friends of using public bike sharing apps, On-hold Mode and Route Recommendation are important functions. To learn more about the existing functions of public bike sharing apps and define the opportunity areas, I started with a competitive analysis and researched 5 well-recognized public bike sharing apps.
It's clear that some needs like bike reservation, route recommendation and bike on-hold are less considered. Therefore, the following functions might become the opportunity areas:
1. Bike reservation;
2. Route recommendation;
3. Bike on-hold;
4. Health report;
5. Notification and reminder.
To better understand the target users and further narrow down the opportunity areas, I sent out 60 questionnaires and received 44 feedback. According to the statistics, all of the participants are students or new grads with job offers. 91% of them have experience of renting the public bikes.
Here are some questions I included in the questionnaire:
How often do you use the public bikes?
What do you usually rent a public bike for?
What prevent(s) you from using the public bikes?
What function(s) do you expect from a public bike sharing app?
When asked what functions they want to be included in a public bike sharing app, most people went for the 3 choices: Bike Reservation, On-hold Mode and Route Recommendation.
Therefore, based on the findings of the competitive analysis and questionnaire, I summarized the following 3 opportunity areas to work on:
With the research insights, I pictured some scenarios for Adam to demonstrate the problems he might encounter in his daily life and emphasized on his goals and pain points to make the product goals clear.
To conclude, the product are expected to achieve 3 goals:
1. Allow users to reserve a bike in advance;
2. Make the bike on hold when the users need a short stop during the ride;
3. Provide route recommendations.
And I framed the design problem as follows:
How to improve user experience by integrating bike reservation, on-hold mode and route recommendation into existing functions of public bike sharing apps?
To better integrate the product goals into the current functions, I started from building the User Flow.
To test if the information architecture makes good sense to the users, I adopted a card sorting approach and received some feedback. I conducted the card sorting method with 3 participants separately in the following sequence. The participants were told to complete 3 independent tasks:
1. Reserving a public bike;
2. Searching for and saving a route recommendation;
3. Turning on the on-hold mode
By observing and talking to the users during the process, I gained 2 insights, which pointed out the potential flaws when users need to pick a time and select a pass.
Goal: Reserving a public bike 1 hour in advance
Occupation: Product Designer
Phoebe plans to go grocery shopping after work. The weather is cute outside. "Cycling to the grocery store may be a good idea." thinks Phoebe.
The meeting will finish in around 40 minutes. So she reserves a public bike 1 hour in advance from a nearby bike station using Biky.
Cycle whenever I'd like to!
Goal: Shopping grocery at a store with no public bike station close by
Occupation: Product Designer
After 10 minutes' ride, Phoebe arrives at the grocery store. The nearest bike station is around 20 minutes' walk away. So she turns on the on-hold mode and puts the bike on hold by the street for 30 minutes.
The grocery shopping takes Phoebe 20 minutes. Then she turns off the on-hold mode and continues cycling back home.
No longer worry about bike parking!
Goal: Searching for a route to cycle with friends on weekend
Occupation: Product Designer
As an energetic person, Phoebe wants to spend sometime cycling with her friends this Saturday.
She goes to the route recommendation and saves 2 routes that might be enjoyable for them to follow.
Planning a ride gets easier!
Before shipping this product, I'd like to define KPIs that indicate the success of this solution. If this is a successful solution, it will be clear that:
1. The user acquisition retains or increases;
2. The NPS improves.
I chose green (#1BA37B) and yellow (#FBBC05) as the 2 theme colors for Biky. These two colors bring the sense of nature, life and energy, which I think is perfect for a public bike mobile app.
What have I learned?
#1 To state, not to persuade.
Stay objective when communicating with users and participants. Be a listener and be open to all feedback, including emotion feedback.
#2 Never go too deep into details.
Nothing is perfect. Always remember the goals and only dive into the meaningful details.
#3 Good visual design brings business, good UX design keeps business.
A good balance of both sides is the ultimate goal.