Our research confirmed several points:
・People didn’t understand what an e-bike actually was and how it empowered people to move and exercise in a whole new way.
・There was confusion surrounding the brand itself. The name “Public” led many people to assume the company specialized in bike rentals.
・We knew who our audience was not. (Hello, fixxie aficionados!)
・We had an idea of who our audience actually was, but this meant we needed to validate our hypothesis.
Contextual Inquiry : My partner, Alyssa, and I took the opportunity to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon taking the bikes out for a spin. It’s worth mentioning that neither of us loves biking. Like, at all. That said, as soon as we took to our bikes, we had an amazing time.
We traversed some of SF’s steepest hills with total ease. Experiencing all of the fun aspects of bike riding (speed, exercise, fresh air, movement) without feeling overwhelmed by the less-than-fun stuff (struggling to scale hills, carry heavy loads, all while navigating through traffic) was nothing short of a pure joy. Having that little bump of power provided by the pedal assist technology enhanced our overall experience tremendously. We could not wipe the smiles off our faces.
Site Map : Building the information architecture allowed us to see the bare bones of the site. This vantage point enabled us to easily strip away anything extraneous or redundant, and to add any missing elements.
We paid extra attention to the top nav which had been littered with unnecessary and confusing pages. Of particular importance was the “Test Ride” page which we figured would be an essential part of moving users through the funnel — why would you plunk down $2K unless you can confirm the real-life awesomeness for yourself?
Usability Testing : After a few iterations and rounds of design studios we were ready to test our product. We called on Jon, our friend and classmate to try out our lo-fi version. Any seasoned UX designer will advise you to never get overly attached to your design because the one thing you can count on is change.
Jon confirmed this. We realized that we had to implement a number of changes. Most importantly, our design had to feature some kind of reservation system. The ultimate goal, after all, was converting PUBLIC website visitors to PUBLIC e-bike riders. And based on what we knew, there is very little (if any) incentive to make the leap unless you’ve experienced the bike for yourself.
Also, the online experience needed some sense of “closure,” or finality. A reservation feature would be the proverbial “bow on top” of the newly fleshed out experience.