Because a Bike Lane Does Not Always a Bike Route Make
While bicycling has exploded in popularity in New York City, finding safe and appropriate routes from point A to B remains problematic.
An online survey of qualified subjects and in-person interviews
revealed a great deal about cyclists' behavior, attitudes, concerns and preferences:
Most cyclists surveyed (83%) said traffic was their greatest concern.
Avoiding traffic was more important than bike lanes.
Simple, direct routes were preferred.
Reducing travel time was more important than minimizing distance.
The majority of respondents (73%) used Google Maps to plot their routes. Google's routes favor bike lanes, but are often out of the way, unduly expose cyclists to traffic or are otherwise unsuitable.
The other cycling mapping apps (Strava, Ride with GPS) required the user to plot her/his own route and/or use Google's API.
Synthesis, Persona and Problem Statement
Based on the research, the user persona, her goals and pain points were easy to define:
How might we provide our user with a mobile app to safely navigate the city on her bike?
Routes generated should meet the following criteria:
Minimize exposure to motor vehicle traffic
Be easy to follow and remember
Take advantage of bike lanes and quiet streets
User Journey and Task Flows
Thinking about the user journey (both literal and figurative) helped define the scenarios of use, the task flows, feature set and interface design:
When and where will our persona use the app?
How will these scenarios of use impact the UX design?
Besides plotting routes, what else will our user want/need to do?
Task flow for selecting starting point. Selecting destination offers the same "Enter New/Use Saved" options. Once destination has been entered the "Let's Ride!" (Go) button is enabled.
Design Process: Form Follows Function
The app feature set for the MVP (Minimun Viable Product) was determined using the MoSCoW method:
Usability Testing and Design Iterations
Usability testing in low-fi confirmed generally strong heuristics. However, icons without text were open to creative interpretation.
Subsequent design rounds further clarified, simplified and refined the overall presentation: