Biketinerary

Exploring new cities like a local using their bikeshare networks

Overview

SCOPE
4 weeks

CATEGORIES
Research, Content Strategy, UX, UI

COLLABORATORS
Jenil Gogari, Katarina Yee

MY ROLE
We contributed equally during desk research and synthesis, which was crucial in identifying the white space for the project, and then in market research, which led to our final idea. I moderated a few discussions on delineating user scenarios and information architecture. Later, I contributed in making the initial prototype and prepared the final presentation.

What is this project all about?

CONTEXT
Bikeshares are becoming more and more prevalent all around the world. Like locals, for many tourists it is a quick and inexpensive way to enjoy the new city at their own pace. But navigating through unfamiliar streets requires scrupulous planning. Understanding new traffic rules is intimidating, and on top of that, stopping every now and then to check for directions kills the joy.

CHALLENGE
So we asked: how can we help tourists uncover the offerings of new cities on bikes in an effortless and fun way?

SOLUTION
Biketinerary is a mobile app that offers curated audio tours for users to explore cities using their bikeshare networks. The app uses GPS data and bikeshare network data to suggest efficient route and nearest bike docks when needed. The app also measures velocity while riding to pace the audio cues for navigation and narration about passing by points of interest.

Key Features

UTILIZE CITY’S BIKESHARE NETWORK

Transportation officials carefully plan where to install docks in their cities, based on traffic and the availability of biking infrastructure.

Biketinerary takes advantage of this thoughtful planning. Utilizing the bikeshare network also makes Biketinerary widely and instantly accessible, even to those who find planning difficult.

LOOP IT OR STOP IT WHEN YOU WANT

Users can choose the starting point of their Biketineraries and end up wherever Biketinerary takes them, or they can use our loop feature, bringing them back to their start.

This flexibility helps travelers discover new parts of the city or use their time in between commitments.

GPS-BASED CUSTOMIZED AUDIO

Biketinerary users have the option to get a fully guided tour with interesting facts about the neighborhoods they’re riding through along with navigation and bikeshare docking help, or to just receive navigation.

Using GPS and velocity measurements, the app adjusts content and pace to ensure a smooth experience.

LEARN MORE AT EVERY STEP

When a user stops at a recommended Biketinerary site, the app automatically brings up an information card allowing the user to learn more. When she continues on, the card is hidden and the map reappears.

What would the biketinerary experience be like?

Process

Research

For a class project, my team and I — all bike enthusiasts — decided to work on helping fellow cyclists. Over the years we have used many biking related products that have enhanced our experiences and we wanted to give back. When we started ideating, one of our ideas was to create an app that helps cyclists avoid road work and other hazards. But in our research, we found that space to be saturated.

We did, however, discover an underserved market where we could add value. One of the key insights that led to the current development of Biketinerary was that bikeshares are becoming more prevalent. As of the end of 2016, there were public bikeshares in more than 1,000 cities worldwide. Like locals, many travelers prefer to explore new cities using bikeshare as it is quite convenient and affordable. But planning and navigating in an unfamiliar city can sometimes be challenging and there is little support available.

Prototype

While prototyping, our main challenge was to ensure that the UI always conveys just the right amount of necessary information. Since the UI might be accessed on the go, a busy screen would be distracting and unsafe. This led us to design a self-sufficient auditory experience.

We explored the use of an auditory component to create a smooth experience. While testing, we took notes about the pace and tone. We also noticed that the use of an audio tour on the road creates a host of new challenges, which we addressed in subsequent iterations.

  • How do we make sure the user doesn’t need to juggle between the digital UI and the auditory experience?
    We ensured that once the trip is started, UI should only be needed when the user stops somewhere.
  • How do we know when to present information about navigation and nearby points of interest?
    This led us to use velocity measurements in addition to GPS data.
  • How do we ensure user safety?
    Listening to an audio tour on the road can be unsafe. Because of this, we recommend users to either use bone conduction headphones which allow them to hear the surrounding sounds, or use only one earbud.

User Experience

THE CAUTIOUS TOURIST

A traveler lands in a new city, sees that there is a bikeshare network, but gets too overwhelmed and nervous to try to navigate the city by bike.
Instead, she chooses to stick to walking, limiting the amount of ground she can cover.

THE INTREPID TRAVELLER

A more intrepid traveler lands in a new city and decides to go for the bikeshare network. But she is still unfamiliar with the city, relying on a guide book, a map, and other tools to navigate to the sites she wants to visit.

THE BIKETINERARY ADENTURER

A traveler sees a bikeshare network and an ad promoting the Biketinerary app. She downloads the app and is intrigued by the various Biketineraries suggested to her based on her location.

From the map thumbnails, she can tell she will cover much more of the city than she expected and discover sites she didn’t even know about. She gets navigation help and fascinating information about nearby neighborhoods and points of interest through her headphones. She is also able to stop and get more information, if she likes.

Learnings

A few things I learned from this project are:

  • Designing an auditory user experience that changes in real time based on the user’s decisions
  • Designing for customization over personalization in content strategy