UBTravel is a mobile phone application designed to help the YouBike users to have a better experience when using YouBike.
In Taiwan, YouBike has recently become more and more popular and useful for both commuters and travelers in Taipei city. Based on the high usage of YouBike, our team decided to improve the user experience of navigating the complex YouBike usage situations like obtaining first-hand rental information of YouBike usage at specific stops, making a reservation in advance, recommending a city tour route planning, or finding cycling enthusiasts.
April 2016 - June 2016 | Taiwan
Mac Sketch, Photoshop, Flinto
In 2009, the Taipei City government has officially started operating the public bicycle system, which is called Youbike. Going through recent years, Youbike has been used by over millions of people and is the world's highest usage rate of public bicycle system. In view of the high usage of Youbike, a variety of mobile applications also came into our daily life. However, after our team looked through literature review and conducted in-depth interviews, we found that our target audiences have higher expectations of Youbike mobile applications. Therefore, our team designed the app prototype -- UB Travel to reach the expectation.
Problem & Goal
Based on the high usage of Youbike, people have found that they are inevitable to face the following problems: there's no empty bike at the stop, no space to return, and motors and bicycles are using the same lines.
Our project goals were to integrate multiple features in different mobile applications and increase people's user experience. Totally we focused on three features: planning first-hand rental information of YouBike usage, city tour route and recommendation, and cycling enthusiasts.
Step 1. Literature review
We searched for two directions of literature review: the analysis data of Youbike current usage, and users' experience with current Youbike app.
Current Youbike usage
The Taipei City government has officially started operating the Youbike (public bicycle system) in 2009. Youbike is used by two million people every month and there are three horizontal and three vertical bike lines now. Based on the statistic results, the main purpose of using Youbike is commuting. Next one is city traveling and transportation. Therefore, our product should be designed to improve features that meet the above three users needs.
Youbike users' mobile application experience
The types of Youbike users can be broadly divided into two categories: first, users who have some desired purpose to be completed or necessarily to be completed, such as short-distance means of transportation. These kinds of users we defined as commuters and their biggest characteristic is that they have a predictable start and end and they usually have the same route to ride each time; The second users are people who rent a bike for leisure activities or traveling. These users can be classified as leisure bikes. Normally, they don't have a specific plan for their rides and the routes may change a lot.
Based on the literature review, we got an idea that Youbike users are not satisfied with the current rental systems because they may meet the situation that there is no bike at the stop or there's no space to return their bikes. Even more important is that users don't know how long they have to wait for. In other side, users are also desired to get their first-hand rental information like how long they have rented a bike or how many calories they have burned.
Our team also analyzed users' mobile application user experience. Youbike users are desired to see the map showing where they are and where are the nearest stops at the application's main page. In addition, users also want consistent color and clean app interface. Users reflect that they hope Youbike app can also add some functions other than just rental information. In this way, they get more information when they are traveling.
Step 2. Competitive Analysis
Currently, there are three kinds of mobile app using for public bicycle systems, including Ubike, Newbike, and C-bike. Our team focused on comparing the search function, the content, and the icon design.
I. Ubike (Official)
Users can directly sign in their accounts in the Ubike app.
There is too much unnecessary information showing in the interface.
The icon's representation doesn't match its meaning.
Buttons at the top are too small and users don't know what is that meaning for.
Newbike provides comprehensive information for users, such as the rental information, route planning, bike return alert, weather forecast, and street view.
The icons at the bottom aren't clear to see and recognize.
The system reaction is too slow and there are too many ads.
The rental information is not instantly updated.
C-bike provides the rental station information in the main page and current location in the map, attractions recommendation, route planning.
People who are not familiar with local roads won't know where they are by simply looking at the main page.
People are not accustomed to the position of the menu.
It provides street views like Google map and it's user-friendly.
Step 3. In-depth Interview
Our team conducted an in-depth interview with 6 target audiences. Our target audiences are (1) People who usually use Youbike for traveling; (2) People who use Youbike as a mean of transportation but not a traveling tool.
We first asked them questions like how they normally use Youbike, what are their purpose and timing, what's the influence of the mobile application for them, what's their expectation of Youbike application, and what do they think about the official U-bike app, and so on.
After we collected the data, we found that people using Youbike will be influenced by the thirty free using time limit. And they often encountered the no-bike and no-parking-space problems during rush hours or midnight. For city traveling, they reflected that they will consider the attractions which take them within 15 minutes to walk through from the Youbike stop. The biggest challenge is the distance from stops to attractions and travel routes. Users normally use Google Map to plan your route now. Our interviewees also said that they would like to use route planning, attraction recommendation, and bicycle line notification functions in Youbike app.
We created two types of persona to imagine the scenarios when they are facing the problems and how they would take the action to solve the problems.
Step 1. Required Features
Totally, our product, UB Travel, has seven main functions, and our features are in the map and route planning functions. They are the reservation, attractions, and finding cycle enthusiasts.
The upper right graphs show how UB Travel's reservation process works. The reservation function could help Youbike users to make sure they will have bikes to rent and avoid waiting time. Route planning function is also another feature function for UB Travel. It helps users to work all process within one app interface and users don't have to change to Google Map for best traveling route. Moreover, UB Travel provides attraction recommendations so that users would be able to know the most popular attractions near them and the distance between attractions and them. The third features route planning function provides is finding cycle enthusiasts. When people are traveling the city, they may also want to find other people with the same interests. Therefore, UB Travel provides an opportunity for users to find other cycle enthusiasts when people open their information.
Step 2. Prototyping
Our team created two versions of the prototype in the prototyping and implementation stages. We used the paper sketch, Mac Sketch, and Flinto to build our prototype.