It’s hard not to notice how the interest in city bikes has grown over the past few years. Many cities have permanently introduced a bicycle station, offering the service seasonally or even throughout the year. It’s no surprise it’s been gaining traction, as residents can move around cheaper and more ecologically, and visitors can get to know the city from a completely different perspective.

A new challenge from the Weekly UX challenges helped me to get to know the reality of city bike rentals and gave an opportunity to design an application that helps the users enjoy the service and have greater experience.

First steps.

One of the challenges while designing an application is paying attention to the ever-increasing pace of life, but also to the growing speed of the Internet. Users expect that the products they purchase to run quickly and be easy to use. From the first contact with the application to everyday use, the product must be intuitive so that our user doesn’t have to think too long about how to use the app. For me, the essentials are a simple design, a clear interface, and an introduction to the application through a short tutorial.

The tutorial helps you learn the basic functions of the application and explains how to use them. In the Let’sRide application, the tutorial is optional and can be skipped. The information contained therein can be found at any time in the “How it works” tab.

Creating an account.

Our applications will be used by many users. From people who register automatically on websites and in applications, to people who are reluctant to do so and often give up using the product due to the obligation to provide personal data. As designers, we need to consider our users base to find the best solution for each of them. I believe it is very important to clarify the purpose of collecting personal data, even if it seems obvious to us. This not only inspires trust among users but also dispels ambiguities.

The basic step before using the Let’sRide application is creating an account. When registering, the user needs to provide basic information such as phone number and e-mail address. The data is used only to communicate with the user.

Payment.

Before renting the first bike, the user needs to select also the payment method. I decided not to use the virtual wallets (built into the app) and choose the direct payment methods (payment card or online payment like PayPal). The user doesn’t have to transfer money to the app to rent a bike, which makes the whole process a lot faster.

Customers who use the service regularly can choose the option to become a premium user, by introducing a monthly payment plan and providing additional services and benefits to the most interested costumers.

Finding a bike.

After creating an account, the users have direct access to the city map and their location. He can quickly find the stations in the city, check how to get to a specific station, and check which bikes are available at the station.

The “See available bikes” option allows the user to check the number of bikes available at the station and reserve a bike for free for 15 minutes. Bikes already reserved or out of order will be marked as “Unavailable”. The exact booking process is shown below.

Reporting problems. 

I wanted the app not to embarrass the recipients so that users could trust the information they found. This mainly applies to the number of bikes available at stations. I think that people who use this service regularly know this problem quite well. We arrive at the station expecting 5 bikes, and all of them end up being out of order. I realize that this problem can not be completely eliminated. The question is, what can be done to minimize it? 

The priority is of course a 24/7 service that monitors the stations and the bikes. The repairs department in charge makes the bikes safe for use. However, I believe that a clear flow of information is needed for the smooth operation of the entire system. The best way is to use the users themselves who have already the most contact with bikes in the city. The feature “Report a problem” allows not only to transfer information to the service but also to other users. Bikes that have been reported automatically get the status “Unavailable” in the application.

Renting.

Bikes can be rented in several ways. Users can choose to scan the QR code or enter the bike number. If they are not able to use the application, they can always rent a bike through the terminal available at each station.

Returning bikes is just as easy. The user needs to attach the bike to the electric lock and it will be automatically returned. If there are no free electric locks at the station, the user can return the bike using the application.

Payment is automatic and all information about the ride can be found in the rental history. The user can also check under there the number of kilometers cycled and calories burned. I thought of using this feature as a motivation boost for users and an incentive to continue riding.

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