INDUSTRIAL DESIGN + SERVICE + RESEARCH + STRATEGY + GRAPHIC
How can we create a solution that encourages the use of the bicycle as a means of transportation in São Paulo?
With this challenge in mind, I immersed in a field research to understand the barriers that people face when using the bicycle as a means of transportation in the city.
As a solution, a new service and a bicycle were designed.
Project developed in partnership with Questtonó team, who supported me during the development and prototype phase.
I was responsible for research, strategy, design both service and bicycle and also lead the team during the prototype phase.
RESEARCH AND STRATEGY
To collect data about the challenge, it was applied lots of research techniques to understand what people think about bicycles and what are the problems they face that prevent them to use this mean of transportation in the city.
After collecting lots of data in the research, we identified six main barriers that prevent people from using a bicycle. These barriers create a lot of tensions during the journey.
To guide the project development, it was created the diagram below to summarize the strategy.
On the left, there is the non-cyclist user. On the right, the motivations that people have to use a bicycle. These users seek to arrive at motivations, but they face the many barriers and tensions in this journey. Through the research data, it was possible to extract the desires that people have to overcome these barriers and with that it was possible to obtain the pillars of the project. These pillars determined the project requirements.
With the pillars defined, we started the ideation process. We put together a team with people from different areas - product, branding, research, strategy, communication - to generate the maximum of ideas for each pillar.
The result was 115 ideas, from products and interfaces to services and infrastructure improvements. After that, we started to combine then to build a more consistent and complete solution.
SERVICE + BICYCLE
To solve all the pillars, we decided to design an integrated solution composed by a service and a new bicycle. We realized that with a service we could solve better some of the pillars (like "simple learning" and "easy decision") and with a new bicycle we could solve better some of the other pillars (like "security" and "usability") - and both together could build a more consistent and better experience for the users.
The service developed, which we called Umabike, mainly seeks to transform the whole experience of starting to use a bicycle as a means of transportation into something easy to be done by anyone.
How it works?
The user can just download the app, add his daily routes and the map will show him a route according to his needs.
Based on the suggested route, the system sets up a personalized bicycle. To try the service, he can just simply sign up for a monthly plan and start to use it, without having to make a high investment right away to buy a bicycle. He also receives the bike at his home together with an introduction guide with tips and important information to ride a bicycle safe in the city and safety equipment.
To make the experience of riding a bicycle even more comfortable, the system provides partnerships with several establishments. The idea is that the Umabike subscriber can go to partner gyms to take a bath, leave the bicycle safe in partner parking lots, and do simple maintenance in nearby bike repair shops. In this way, the service provides for cyclists a collaborative infrastructure scattered throughout the city.
If the user wants to change some components or try a different configuration, he can just order the change by the app and a service vehicle goes at his home to make the exchange. Also, periodic maintenance is done in the same way, so people don't need to worry about the boring stuffs related to own a bike.
To better understand the service, creating storyboards is a good technique for visualize users interacting with the solution in real life. In this way, three main scenarios of the user journey were illustrated.
1. First touchpoint
Jessica uses the car to go to work every day. Once she discovers the service, she downloads the app and, by adding the information on her daily route, she can see the best route to go by bicycle and have a bike set up based on that route.
When she receives the bicycle in her house, she also receives an introduction guide that gives her tips on how to cycle safe in the city. She can check quite places to start training and gaining confidence and gradually get to cycle side by side with cars.
2. Using the collaborative infrastructure
To improve the experience of using a bicycle, partnerships have been created with several establishments spread around the city, such as parking lots, gyms and bike repair shops. In this way, Jessica can check all partner establishments via app and use this infrastructure as many times as she wants.
3. Trying a new setup
In order for the users to be able to identify the best configuration of the bicycle, it was created a system of constant experimentation.
In this way, Jessica can use the bike and, after a month of use, she can request the exchange of one or more components until she can identify the best configuration for her.
To enhance the service and also solve some of the pillars of the project, we designed a modular bike which can adapt to the varied needs of people.
From a single frame, it is possible to adapt the size for different users, add modules that make the bike personalized for each one and choose to be electric assisted or not.
The bicycle was designed to be totally modular, adapting to the needs of different people. The name given - Umabike - means "one bike", referring to a single bicycle that serves several uses.
Despite all the functionalities, it was maintained a simple and iconic design so that all the elements were aesthetically aligned in a harmonic way, differentiating from the current electric bicycles of the market.
To do this, we got inspiration in the classical and traditional bikes geometry, but creating a singular language only in the main part of the frame, establishing a dialogue between the new and the old.
The white part of the frame is the main structure that embraces the front and the back tube. In this way, we could modularize the size of the bicycle, creating a unique frame that adapts for different size of users.
Also it's possible to attach different modules in the front, in the middle and in the back, creating lots of possibilities of usage.
The bike can become both electrical or non-electrical.
The prototype phase was the most challenging of the entire project. We thought about different materials and processes to meet our budget. In the end, the prototype was divided into four parts.
The first is the main frame, which was produced by 3D printing in partnership with 3D Systems and later a carbon fiber lamination was made to create the necessary strength.
The second part is the common parts of a bicycle, made in tubular structure, in which we hire a bicycle manufacturer to do the job.
The third part is the modules (lights, battery, controller, etc.) that were also made with 3D printing by 3D Systems.
Finally, the fourth part were the market components, which had a selection based on the project requirements.