Whoo: A Community of Exploration

Whoo! was a collaboration with Ford Research & Innovation Center to envision the future of bike mobility

Whoo! is bike share system that aims to make biking safe, convenient and worthwhile for commuters and bike fanatics by envisioning a human-centered vision for the future of mobility. By utilizing leisure time to be productive and establishing a currency that relies on commuting and exploration, people can connect with others through travel and support the local businesses of San Francisco.


Team: Daniel Frank and Hongkun Zhang

Role: UX Designer and Team Leader

Process: understanding client needs and project brief, design research, defining problem, concept generation, mapping out system and user experience, key screens, video editing, presenting pitch

Time Taken: 4 weeks

 


my contributions

Project Manager- Led the team, created vision, facilitated multiple brainstorm sessions, research, created goals and deadlines, led presentation

UX Designer- generated initial storyboards, mapped out system, sketches, wireframes, wireflow, key screens, pitch deck

defining the problem

The biggest issue is the bike share system doesn't fit into a domestic/urban context to facilitate daily life for how people currently get around in the city. 


Instead of fixing the existing bike share system, how might we provide people a localized bike experience to encourage discovery and communication?


Key Screens

Based on our research insights, we re-created the SF bike share system to center the use of bikes as a way to experience the environment, and facilitate social interactions that you wouldn’t get when driving. We focused on three use cases: people who want a bike right now, people who want to explore and new users.


Centralized Bike Stations

Centralized areas for bikes allow for better distribution of bike stations across the city. Users always have access to a bike and when they are finished using it, they can pass their bike along to someone in close proximity who needs it. This makes one way trips much more simple, painless and cost friendly.

 

 

The app will show central bike stations where users can leave their bike. They will be spread out enough so that they never have to walk far, yet centralized enough so that there are always bikes available. Users can also choose the kind of bike they want to ride on and that fits their preference of riding.

The app will show central bike stations where users can leave their bike. They will be spread out enough so that they never have to walk far, yet centralized enough so that there are always bikes available. Users can also choose the kind of bike they want to ride on and that fits their preference of riding.

Users can easily rent a bike, unlock it using their phone and go, rather than going to a kiosk and picking up a bike that might not always be there.

Users can easily rent a bike, unlock it using their phone and go, rather than going to a kiosk and picking up a bike that might not always be there.

Suggestions and Shortcuts

Users can share the places they traveled to create a more inclusive bike community, as well as enhance the overall biking experience by having something new to look forward to every time they ride through crowd sourcing data.

 

 

Along your ride, the app shows users suggestions from previous riders who rode on a similar bike route, giving you the option to go new places or explore new scenery, making your ride more personal and fun.

Along your ride, the app shows users suggestions from previous riders who rode on a similar bike route, giving you the option to go new places or explore new scenery, making your ride more personal and fun.

After personalizing your ride, you have the option to take a short or a long route depending on whether you are commuting to work or if you want to take your time getting to your destination.

After personalizing your ride, you have the option to take a short or a long route depending on whether you are commuting to work or if you want to take your time getting to your destination.

Miles and Incentives

Gamifying bike riding creates a feedback loop that engages users to bike more. In turn, bike riders earn prizes for the number of miles they ride, or by discovering the rich culture of the city. This behavior aims to promote productivity, create healthy habits over time, and reduce the amount of gas absorbed into the atmosphere, creating a cleaner environment to live in.

 

The app will track number of miles users rode, so they know how much they exercised and an option that allows them to explore the city with their friends by competing with them to find landmarks around the city, earning prizes which utilize miles as ranking, and currency.

The app will track number of miles users rode, so they know how much they exercised and an option that allows them to explore the city with their friends by competing with them to find landmarks around the city, earning prizes which utilize miles as ranking, and currency.

Depending on the number of miles you ride using the bike share system, you are allowed to choose routes that when you pass by certain landmarks, you can get a prize such as free coffee at Starbucks.

Depending on the number of miles you ride using the bike share system, you are allowed to choose routes that when you pass by certain landmarks, you can get a prize such as free coffee at Starbucks.


intitial research

Secondary

In order to understand the problem with bike mobility within the SF bike share system, I did secondary research to understand what made a good bike system in comparison to a bad one.

  • Successful bike share systems have decreased the use of automobiles, reduced traffic congestion, improved health for regular bikers and attracted new riders to biking.
  • Due to their success and popularity, bike Share systems have been rapidly growing in popularity across the world in places such as Amsterdam, New York City, and more. Bike share has the potential to profoundly and permanently shift cultural habits away from automobiles and towards bicycles as an economical, flexible and carbon free transportation alternative. 

 

Research Visualization

data viz-01.png

I created a research visualization to synthesize secondary information in order understand how cost factors in to a successful vs unsuccessful bike share, taking into account of the amount of stations and system coverage.

The problem is San Francisco's bike share is not just the cost, but the ratio between stations and system coverage which hinders bike mobility in the city.

 

Primary

We interviewed 7 people who commute to school and/or work on a daily basis and people who have used bike share programs to find the high and low points of their experience.

pitch deck for ford + process_Page_23.png

From the interviews we found out that a big problem bike riders and even non riders encounter is the action to be able to ride a bike without worrying about the potential dangers (trusting the environment, stolen bike). Another low point is being able to take a breather from all the stress life gives.

Regarding the SF bike share system, these were the main problems users encountered:

  • The bikes are HEAVY
  • There are stations clustered around downtown San Francisco, but they aren’t EVERYWHERE, making it extremely hard or impossible to make simple one way trips.
  • The kiosk is annoying to use. You can only buy a pass at the kiosk. Once you pay, you have five minutes to pull out a bike from the docking station or else you can’t get the bike.
  • The bike itself is also very expensive. When comparing it to Chicago’s bike, the fee to rent a bike for a day is only $5, while San Francisco is up $150.

We used that as a leverage to guide us towards creating a system that would prevent people from constantly worrying about their bike and life in general to focus on creating experiences through riding a bike.

 

Insights

1. People ride their bikes to experience the world around them

  • How might we...Create safe accomplishments that heighten the bike experience?
  • How might we...Provide people a localized bike experience to encourage discovery and communication?
The reason why people ride bikes is being able to feel free from responsibility and focus on the present; We want to enhance biking for people to be able to go at their own pace and introduce the aspects of the city that have yet to be discovered through exploration and connecting the community.

The reason why people ride bikes is being able to feel free from responsibility and focus on the present; We want to enhance biking for people to be able to go at their own pace and introduce the aspects of the city that have yet to be discovered through exploration and connecting the community.

2. People just ride their bikes from point A to point B

  • How might we...Increase productivity while biking?

 

People have to get up and go places. whether it is commuting to work or going to meet a friend. People want to be able to go where they want and where they want as fast as possible, but at the same time be productive during their commute.

People have to get up and go places. whether it is commuting to work or going to meet a friend. People want to be able to go where they want and where they want as fast as possible, but at the same time be productive during their commute.

Biking offers freedom without being confined like a car and offers speed, unlike walking. since the bike is the midpoint between walking and a car, we want to be able to incorporate the values of biking to create a community of exploration and connection with the city, as well as having something to look forward to after a long day.

understanding the opportunties

Our team first came up concepts of how we could enhance bike mobility in San Francisco. We brainstormed aspects of the bike itself, infrastructure and service in which would change the way people rode bikes. We also came up with potential solutions for our How Might We statements.

At first, our group focused too much on providing solutions that could be implemented in a short period of time, i.e. a bike lift to add on hills. This made us back-track our steps to look at our main goal which was to speculate a future of a bike experience that would introduce new behaviors and interactions. 

 

mapping out the vision

 As we explored different scenarios to how our bike share system would touch on different social interactions, one of our biggest struggles was coming up with a story that would highlight key features of our system as well as the overarching message Ford wants to be able to convey; creating a system to fit into everyday life.

Going back to our scenario, why would people even want to use our service in the future? How could we express that through different touch points?

creating a bikeshare for all

I created a system that explores different touchpoints of our new bike share experience and how would people use it in everyday life, particularly the three users I mentioned above when designing the key screens (the commuter, the explorer and the new user).

This resulted in different features for different users to help personalize their biking experience while having fun and achieving goals that localize the experience and familiarize yourself better with sf (the places and people).

envisioning a safer future

The blue lines are driving lanes for automous cars, which channels specific flows of traffic and reduces congestion. The green lanes are reserved for bikes, but bikes can ride on any road because of the date in the future. It also allows for more beautiful scenery because cars are not present.

The blue lines are driving lanes for automous cars, which channels specific flows of traffic and reduces congestion. The green lanes are reserved for bikes, but bikes can ride on any road because of the date in the future. It also allows for more beautiful scenery because cars are not present.

We envision a future of biking to have safe routes that allows for more beautiful scenery because cars are not present, thus romanticizing biking in a way that couldn't have been done in a car-centric environment. This also presents the opportunity for users to be able to freely bike with less worry about their safety.

Overall Message

The most important thing is getting people to slow down, explore the city and enjoy biking..as well as facilitate interaction and safety to create a friendlier city.

How will Ford benefit from our solution?

Ford will benefit from being to able facilitate experiences that will be associated with them and their brand. They also will be able to build relationships with businesses in San Francisco to partner with reward systems and local establishments to create opportunities for a better unified transportation system. They can also house a platform where they can make money off of other people who are also making money as they loan out bikes.

Next Steps

We presented our bike system at Ford in Palo Alto, with Mike Whitens ( Director of Vehicle Enterprise Systems), Raj Rao (CEO, Ford Smart Mobility), Anthony and Nico (Car Designers) and internal Ford PR. The CEO of Smart Mobility plans to move forward with our project.

As a group, we plan to include big research and validate our assumptions on why the sf bike system will be important in the future, pitching to local businesses about our project and how they could benefit from our system and thinking about where we will be getting our revenue from. We would also want to do more benchmark research with different bike share companies, dig more deeper into our value proposition, and be more specific with social connections we will be creating with our service.

Learnings

Technology enables extraordinary experiences to happen—yet technology within an automotive ecosystem still remains largely un-memorable, noncompassionate and non-social. I learned how to examine and research the behaviors and triggers that create human connections (i.e., empathy). I also learned how to apply those insights to new, branded mobility ecosystems that are memorable, compassionate and social, and crafted an end-to-end bike share experience (from discovery to onboarding to daily routines and advocacy) to envision a future experience.

It was one of my first experiences as a leader for a team project and I learned how to lead with a vision as well as guide my teammates throughout the project, whether it was establishing deadlines, roles or helping them with the work I assigned them. When I asked them what did they thought about me as a teammate in the beginning stages of the project, they saw me as someone who could lead and I did not want to let them down. I made sure we were able to work individually with the specific parts of the project, and at the same time, make sure we would all be able to come together and talk about the project to decide on steps together.