Bike rental shops in Venice Beach have been affected by the competition with E-transit companies & by the massive drops in transportation ridership due to COVID-19. Users avoid bike rental shops because it involves face-to-face interaction and there is no guarantee of cleanliness.
RideSafe Venice is a contactless bike and scooter rental service that seamlessly manages the rental process from start to finish. The app provides a platform for renters to search for sanitized bikes & scooters in Venice Beach and complete the rental process easily through the app.
design challenge 🎯
The challenge of this project was to identify a specific location in the city and devise a plan for improving mobility in the post-COVID era. We chose Venice Beach as our focus area and assessed how the pandemic has affected the beach's usage.
Customize your mobility system to the site, like Santa Monica Promenade, Downtown Culver City, Downtown Los Angeles, Highland Park, etc.
The project must include these technical features, such as a screen-based interaction (website, app, kiosk, device, wearable, etc).
Design research includes field observation and interviewing to identify transportation issues on the chosen site.
secondary research 📰
Having witnessed the closure of numerous local bike shops, we set out to explore potential competition in the form of rideshare apps like Bird and Lime. Our findings were consistent across the board - COVID-19 had caused a substantial decline in transportation ridership.
bike shop owners 🏪
After speaking to rental bike and scooter shops we discovered that they are experiencing a significant decrease in usage due to stay-at-home orders and loss of tourism. In addition, bike shop owners are struggling to maintain sanitation standards, causing customer concerns and revenue loss. Furthermore, rental bike shops face tough competition from dockless and docked micro-mobility companies that offer more flexibility to users.
“We try to power wash the bikes once a day & give them a quick wipe down alcohol in between ride. However, customers are still afraid that the bikes are not 100% clean.”
“Last summer we saw a significant 40 percent drop on our rental business. The summer before that, we would run out of bikes on the weekends.”
“Some people, rather than rent something from us, rent the scooters. We lost a lot of business because of it. With the other scooters, people have the advantage to drop them off anywhere they want.”
bike shop users 🚴
Following discussions with users, it became apparent that many avoid engaging in face-to-face interactions with rental shop staff. Moreover, users have expressed concerns regarding the cleanliness of rental vehicles. Additionally, due to social distancing measures and concerns over overcrowding, many users are avoiding bike rental shops in Venice altogether.
“When I ride bikes in Venice I avoid people without masks. Some people approach you and they don’t stay 6 feet apart, it’s frustrating” - David
“I used to rent bikes at the beach with my friends every other week but now I’m scared because Venice Beach gets so overcrowded” - Leticia
“I use shared devices less often in Venice because I’m unsure of their cleanliness, I always use hand sanitizer to feel safe" - Ryan
user journey map 📈
The bike rental process on the Boardwalk requires customers to browse for available bikes, which can be time-consuming and inconvenient. The rental process itself involves a lengthy amount of face-to-face interaction, which may make some customers feel uneasy. However, returning the bike is straightforward as the rental is paid for in advance.
user needs 👥
To be reassured that rental shops are following covid-19 regulations and bikes are sanitary.
Contactless bike rental pickups to limit face-to-face contact.
A way to schedule bike rental in advance to avoid crowds and busy hours on the Boardwalk.
Shop owners needs:
A platform to make the rental process as quick and easy as E-transit competitors, such as Bird & Lime Scooters.
Support for his small business to attract more customers and increase bike rentals.
A simple, easy way to share the bike shop’s COVID-19 precautions with customers.
user flow 🔀
In designing this user flow, we carefully analyzed the user's current journey map to identify opportunities for simplifying the onboarding and rental process. Specifically, we aimed to minimize face-to-face interactions by streamlining the steps involved in achieving a completely contactless pickup experience.
paper prototype 📝
Following the completion of the user flow, we proceeded to develop a low-fidelity paper prototype. This enabled us to rapidly generate and test ideas for the onboarding process while gaining a deeper understanding of the user journey. This, in turn, facilitated the creation of a high-fidelity prototype, which incorporated the insights gained from user testing.
Speedy Rental Process
Users can simply scan their id, set up their payment, and review terms and conditions.
Supports Small Local Businesses
RideSafe allows users to search local rental shops, check out rental shops' contact info and pricing, leave reviews.
Customized, Contactless Pick ups
Users can set up their seat and vehicle adjustments and schedule completely contactless pickups through the app.
Sanitized & Safe
RideSafe shares the sanitization process and precautions each bike shop is taking to ensure users’ safety.
final prototype ✨
Through this project, I learned the importance of being mindful of the primary audience when designing. After presenting our solution, stakeholders expressed interest in seeing more of the bike shop owners' experience with RideSafe. As a result, I plan to explore designing a user interface tailored to bike shop owners and conduct user testing to assess feasibility. In the future, we could also consider implementing subscriptions for frequent renters, promotions, and rewards.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and remote collaboration, this project allowed us to learn and adapt our creative thinking. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my team members and contribute to a design solution that supports small businesses in difficult times.