Designing Efficiency: SVA Students Make Bike Sharing Easier in NYC

August 20, 2014

First-year MFA Interaction Design students in Jill Nussbaum’s Design in Public Spaces course braved one of the coldest winters on record to research a project for a new “client,” Citi Bike. The program’s parent company, NYC Bike Share, approached the class with a business challenge: come up with ways to make Citi Bike more user-friendly for its hundreds of thousands of new and casual riders.

The students observed the way first-time pass holders interact with the system and interviewed them about their experience. They also quizzed friends from other countries who, as tourists, have depended on bike sharing to get around. A variety of high-quality ideas for improving the Citi Bike program came about as a result of the assignment.

start425In fact, the students’ proposals so impressed NYC Bike Share that the organization decided to work with two of them, Amy Wu and Luke Stern, to bring their work out of the classroom and into the streets. The two soon learned that new customers, especially non-English speakers, were having a hard time understanding the logistics of renting a Citi Bike, and found the pricing structure especially confusing. Putting their design training to work, Wu and Stern came up with new graphics that simplify the rental process and clarify the cost options.

citi425Now, after weeks of user testing, the revamped visuals are being installed at all of Citi Bike’s 330+ kiosks. The new interface will soon appear on the program’s website and in its print collateral. With Wu and Stern’s improved design solution, tourists and busy New Yorkers alike are ready to roll.

For more information about Citi Bike, click here.

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