First things first, let’s analyze a bit the app so we are all on the same page. Bicing is an app by the Generalitat de Catalunya for the use of the bicycles that you see all around the city. It offers the technology to unlock the bikes for use and some extras I will showcase in a bit. As a user of the app myself, I find it hard to use and it took me some time to figure out all the features it offers, so I wanted to know if I was alone here or if there are more users out there who user in spite of the experience it offers. One last thing to say is that the app comes in language options Spanish & Catalan, so you will see texts in Spanish, they are not many though!
I believe the creation of personas on this occasion is hard to narrow down. The app offers a service for which it is mandatory to use, even if it’s not the best. So, even if you download it, use it a bit and dislike it, you have to keep it to be able to access the bikes and go from point A to point B (unless you go more analogical and use the card they send, hey, that's fine too!). Based on observation around the city and investigation via asking bicing users, I came up with three main types of users:
To get a better glance of how the users interacted with the app, I wanted to do some testing with them.
Once these three types of users were selected, it was time to test! I conducted one on one testing with a couple of people from each type to see how they behaved. Knowledge in exchange for a coffee :) This was the script: First of all, I want you to explore the app a bit, let me know if there’s anything that stands out. The result was different.
Both the Tech Savvy and the App Newbie users had similar results, showcasing how the app was designed for users to be very aware of what's being showed on the screen. It assumes the users will click on every button and see it all.
I conducted a user interview with Maria, who already uses the app, in order to get a better understanding of the problem. I wanted to know if there were any past frustrations while using the app, she was very open about it. She told me how at first she just unlocked the bikes and went on with the day. Just one button and that was all. However, once she could not find a single place to park her bike. At first glance she was unable to see if there was any help at the app, she spent 20 minutes going along the avenue looking for one until she did. Little is to say that she wasn’t happy. She knew how to perform all the tasks, she proudly showed me how the icons on the top were really buttons you can use to switch options, like look for parking spots! No problem creating a route, but she said that she is not a fan of this. If it’s a path she’s unfamiliar with she has to park at the side, pull out the phone and see where to go next, a navigation system would be a great improvement.
What are the main features & functions? Let’s break them into steps and see what can be removed or rearranged to make the experience smoother. I mapped out the users’ steps to see how I could simplify their journey to help them reach their most important goals with the product. This helped me outline which are the main tasks the users perform while using the app, and separate them from the features that add to the experience but are not the focal points.
Once I had tested out all usability mistakes, I started designing the final screens in Figma.
First of all, some of the directions that were listed on the original navigation were confusing, half in Spanish, half in English...weird. I had to change this and some other details, see below. So, now when creating a route, I made the written directions button obvious, for the users to see. The Navigation was updated as well, to provide a better understanding of the path to be taken.
I started this redesign ready to change as much as possible since I did not think the app was working. However, as I investigated and tested, keeping the original look, I did not end up changing the main screen a whole lot, it's just simplified. And let me tell you, simplicity is not easy to achieve if usability is the main focus. The original screens require the user to be super intuitive and touch everything because everything is a button! In reality, users do not realize this and end up missing a lot. I started with a whole different idea, but the design changed with the information I gathered step by step. The next movewould be to really work on the Navigation system, to create a really user-friendly one for the user to be able to enjoy while riding the bike.