Opportunity Statement

Novices who only started riding their bike recently need information on how they
can ride with confidence at every step on their journey to becoming an experienced cyclist. As is, most popular existing biking apps cater much more to the advanced bike-rider interested in improving their numbers.

Overview

ToRide is an original mobile app for casual riders who need more motivation to go outside and ride their bike. Our goal was to improve the motivation
of beginners who want to get into biking as a hobby.

Methodologies

Brand matrix | User interviews | Contextual inquiry | Affinity mapping | User persona | Competitive/comparative feature analysis | Feature prioritization | Design studio | Rapid prototyping | Wireframing | Usability testing

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ToRide

Novices who only started riding their bike recently need information on how

they can ride with confidence at every step on their journey to becoming an experienced cyclist. As is, most popular existing biking apps cater much more to the advanced bike-rider interested in improving their numbers.

Methodologies

Brand matrix | User interviews | Contextual inquiry | Affinity mapping | User persona | Competitive/comparative feature analysis | Feature prioritization | Design studio | Rapid prototyping | Wireframing | Usability testing

Overview

ToRide is an original mobile app for casual
riders who need more motivation to go outside
and ride their bike. Our goal was to improve the motivation
of beginners who want to get into biking as a hobby.

Duration

2 week sprint

Role

UX Designer

Tools

Sketch
InVision Studio
Miro
Zeplin
Google Sheets
Keynote

Team

Jordan Kolb
Christina Massey
Abraham Galva
Zion Chang

Research

Methodologies

Brand matrix | Screener survey | User interviews | Contextual inquiry | Affinity mapping | User persona | Journey mapping | Competitive/comparative feature analysis | Feature prioritization | Design studio | Prototyping | Wireframing | Usability testing | Iterative design

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We created a Competitive Brand Matrix in order to determine what we could do differently from other popular biking and fitness apps on the market.

From what we found, most biking apps catered to a
hardcore audience that was interested in improving speed, distance, calories burned, etc. This gave us an opening for an app that catered more to casual, beginner riders.

This is difficult, however. Catering to an experienced audience gives apps an advantage in longevity for a user. A user can grow out of an app meant for beginners, whereas there is no skill ceiling for an advanced biker to hit.

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A Candid Community

After interviewing 10 casual bikers, we affinity mapped I-statements that would shape the direction of our app.
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“I’m too exhausted to even think about riding my bike after work”

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"Riding a bike makes me feel accomplished."

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“I want to feel comfortable while riding my bike”

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"Being safe makes me feel reassured and relaxed while biking."

While these statements were helpful in determining how bike riders want to feel when riding, feeling safe and comfortable were elements outside of our control as user experience designers. Instead, we had to turn our focus toward ways of motivating our users. We used this information to form our persona.

The First Step is the Hardest

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Alex recently moved to Williamsburg, NY. Alex lives an active lifestyle and wants to get around the city by riding his bike. He is not used to the conditions that make up city bike riding. Alex has to avoid traffic, avoid construction, avoid other people, avoid bad weather. There is so much to avoid that it discourages Alex from going out.

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Alex is UNCOMFORTABLE.

He is unfamiliar with biking in such close proximity to cars, construction and other people.

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Alex is UNMOTIVATED.

Thinking about biking is stressful and has no desire to actually go out and ride after a busy day at work.

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Problem Statement

Alex started biking as a way to de-stress, but his lack of comfort is hurting his motivation to ride.

How can we help Alex get started on his bike riding experience and stay motivated while keeping his sense of safety and comfort?

Design

From our competitive and comparative feature analysis, most biking apps catered to a hardcore audience that was interested in improving speed, distance, calories burned, etc. This gave us an opening for an app that catered more to casual, beginner riders. To get more insight into what our contemporaries were doing, we conducted a competitive and comparative analysis.

Rival apps catered to advanced users and left out things like informational tips for casuals and features that talked about weather. Taking advantage of the lack of these features in other biking and fitness apps would form the backbone for the first half of our app. Four categories in particular would help determine the direction our mid-fi would take:

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We used the MoSCoW Feature Prioritization method to decide which features to implement for this Minimum Viable Product. Now with an understanding of which features to focus on, we started work on our design studio.

Design Studio

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The first round of design studio for the home page.

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The second round of design studio for the home page.

Mid-Fi Wireframes

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Home screen. Clicking on it would swap the motivational message with an informational one about the weather and road conditions.

Record screen. The user can record their ride and save it to receive info on when it's free of traffic.

Customize screen. The user can set up their prefered weather conditions for the app to notify them when it’s good to ride.

Account screen. The user can set when the user wants to be notified of biking conditions and the weather conditions and route to be notified about.

Route Safety screen. Users can set notifications regarding traffic and weather for any past route they recorded.

We asked 8 users to rate on a scale of 1-5 how easily they navigated through the site and how satisfied they were doing so.

We asked 8 users to rate on a scale of 1-5 how easily they navigated through the site and how satisfied they were doing so.

Navigation

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3.4

/5

Satisfaction

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3

/5

Users disliked our mid-fi home page. While it was eye-catching and every unanimously wanted to click on it to reveal the background message, once they did they were disappointed. Most people wanted to click on it to REMOVE the message more than anything else. Users didn’t understand why it was laid out this way.

The lack of satisfaction in our app came from users not seeing a purpose in using it, especially if they were newcomers. “So the app will tell me when it’s a good time to ride based on weather and road safety? Can’t I just use the weather app or Google Maps?” Our app was missing a core hook.

Now I'm Motivated

Our app’s main feature of sending safety notifications caters to Alex’s desire for a comfortable experience, the encouraging messages provided him with very little motivation to actually go. However, this didn’t address how exausted and unmotivated he felt after work every day. It’s easy to tell someone, “just do it, it’ll make you feel better!” It’s another thing entirely to actually motivate them to do it. ToRide focused too heavily on making the user feel comfortable to the point it ignored any aspect of motivating them through extrinsically motivating rewards.

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Alex, due to being uncomfortable with city biking, lacks consistent intrinsic motivation to ride a bike. As he bikes more, he may start to enjoy riding for the sake of it. We could use extrinsic motivation at the start to encourage him to ride his bike. Providing external rewards at the start can eventually be supplanted by or combine with an intrinsic motivation to ride, which is where our weather & safety notifications come in.

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Almost all of our competitors use achievements or challenges as a way to keep users coming back. However, most of these apps are catered towards experienced riders. Making these rewards casual or beginner friendly can separate us from the competition.

Hi-Fi Wireframes & Usability Testing

Users did not like the original
mid-fi home screen. In order to make the screen look more palatable and satisfying to interact with, we looked to contemporary fitness apps like Nike Run for inspiration.

We kept the original messages and included a call-to-action for the “record ride” and “activity” pages.

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An entirely new section born from our need to provide Alex external motivation, the Activity page keeps track of a user’s progress.

This takes the form of a progress bar and various challenges that can be shared on social media.

These challenges are meant to be easy to obtain early on and harder as a user’s intrinsic motivation for riding supplants their desire for rewards.

After a ride, Alex will see how his decision to ride directly contributed toward earning medals. The more satisfying this process looks, the more Alex will be encouraged to bike again.

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In the mid-fi, users did not like that they had to go into Settings in order to do something as important as set up their preferred weather conditions.

Since weather is such an important part of the app, we added a quick onboarding process.

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We asked 5 users to rate on a scale of 1-5 how easily they navigated through the site and how satisfied they were doing so.

We asked 5 users to rate on a scale of 1-5 how easily they navigated through the site and how satisfied they were doing so.

Navigation

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4.9

/5

Satisfaction

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4.2

/5

Conclusion

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ToRide was a project that changed direction multiple times throughout its creation. The feedback from our mid-fidelity prototype helped us to figure out how to recontextualize the app. Once we started thinking of comfort and de-stressing as a form of intrinsic motivation, it became obvious that the element our app was missing was that initial extrinsic motivation to get Alex out there biking in the first place. Adding the achievements and progress bar finally brought balance to our app and gave Alex a reason to keep coming back.

ToRide taught me that no matter how an app twists and turns throughout designing, it’s important to always connect it back to your problem statement and your persona. It also taught me to believe in my research, even when changing direction.

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