Heidi Erwin Cartoon Sun Drawing
heidi erwin
Turn your everyday commute into a comfortable adventure.

WHEN:  Fall 2020
WHAT:  2-person project where a friend and I brought an app from brainstorming through user research, personas, wireframing, and a high-fidelity prototype. We worked side-by-side throughout the process, building off of each other's ideas and designs. I also created all of the 3D assets.
SKILLS:  UI + UX Design, User Research, Figma, Photoshop, Blender

Hi-Fi Prototype & Video Demo

To learn about our process, keep reading!

The Problem
Problem: Micro-transportation (ways of commuting across short distances, around 5 miles or less) has been described as inaccessible, expensive, and time-consuming for users.

Services like Uber and Lyft are expensive even across short distances, and their reliability varies significantly with time and location. Similarly, scooter-share and bike-share programs are unaffordable and unreliable, on top of being subject to theft and vandalism (Read more here).

Overall, existing micro-transportation has been described as not worth it: the time, money, hassle, or stress.

How might we make small-scale transportation more worthwhile?

User Interviews (Part 1)
Users: People who use micro-transportation in metropolitan/urban/suburban areas.

User Interviews: We interviewed 10 individuals who reside in urban & suburban areas to better understand their transportation habits and preferences. Then we synthesized our findings into 7 considerations that users made when evaluating their commute. These concerns fell into the 2 categories of Availability and Enjoyability.

Availability (people CAN use it) vs. Enjoyability (people WANT to use it)
Table of Availability vs. Enjoyability

Availability vs. Enjoyability
Availability vs. Enjoyability Graph: To obtain quantitative data on availability and enjoyability, we surveyed 43 individuals on how they viewed 6 different forms of transportation.

We then plotted this data and found that no form was both more enjoyable and more available than the others.

To solve our issue, we wanted to focus on the form that has the greatest potential to be improved. We don’t have direct control over availability.

Instead, can we increase the enjoyability of the form of transportation already most accessible?
Graph of Availability vs. Enjoyability

User Interviews (Part 2)
After analyzing results from our survey, it seemed walking was the most available. However, people generally don’t enjoy it; why?

To get more insights, we interviewed 6 individuals to better understand their perception of walking.

How People Feel About Walking
Walking Insights
The interviews confirmed that the primary concerns with walking were centered around enjoyability.

With this in mind, we decided to narrow the scope of the problem we’re trying to solve:

How might we improve the perception of walking by reframing it as an enjoyable form of micro-transportation?

To address this multi-layered issue, we wanted to account for different lifestyles and the varied reasons people do not enjoy walking. To explore these nuances, we created three personas based on our interviewed users, illustrating their wants and needs through empathy maps.
Lucas Persona
Catherine Persona
May Persona

Affinity Map (Solution Brainstorm)
We were ready to begin ideating with the specific needs of our personas in mind. To address the major dislikes reported in our interviews, we wrote down potential solutions to these 5 major pain points in a 10-minute brainstorm.

Solution Brainstorm

To reemphasize: based on our research, walking is already cost-efficient, reliable, and customizable, but it is not as enjoyable as it could be. From our affinity map, we focused on the most important features to make an app that increases fun through social community exploration and improves comfort through easy resource access and customizable paths.

We created a wireframe of the important functionalities (social, community, resource access, custom paths) to map out the flow of our app:


Resource Access
Keep comfort and control in your pocket. With the tap of your finger, search nearby for both practical resources (e.g. restrooms, water fountains, recycling bins) and exciting local sights.

Custom Paths
Customize your walk based on noise, shade, and incline levels, marking any resources you’d like on your route as well. Set a time or distance you’d like to walk and a custom path will be generated for you.

Join our community boards for a wide selection of immersive paths created by walkers in your neighborhood. Explore hidden trails, find new landmarks you haven’t seen before, and share your own journeys.

If you’re bored or want a walking buddy, engage with friends during your walk. See their saved paths, or give them a call when they’re active and catch up as you round the block.

High-Fidelity Screens

Next Steps
With this prototype in hand, we were almost done; however, to understand areas for future improvement, we conducted some usability tests via usertesting.com.

The participants interacted with the core functions: Find, Community, Wander, and Friends, and recorded their thoughts and feelings throughout the process. Users felt that the overall application had good purpose and stated that they, or someone they know, would enjoy using it. They also enjoyed the friendly and clean visual design, but they felt that certain icons (e.g. community) were vague and unclear. Additionally, users felt that the design was too simplistic and they desired more information to be displayed, such as incline.

If given more time to develop the prototype, we’d address these users’ concerns, balancing the amount of information shown with ease of use. In terms of other features to add to the application, we would also like to integrate safety features. Because of the serious nature of keeping walkers safe, though, tackling this challenge was not something we had time for in our initial run of this project.