Biker's Nest

UX research   ·   UX design   ·   UI design


CMU 51-271: How People Work
Instructor: Bruce Hanington
Team: Juliana Nam, Grace Wong, Lucy Yu

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"How can we enhance the biking experience at CMU?"

A project prompt that manifested from the myriad of problems we encounter day to day. I worked with Juliana Nam and Grace Wong in decoding core issues, drawing data through user research, and ideating solution to address the problems we discovered along the way. While Juliana and I worked on most of the visuals in our surveys, Grace wrote the copy. The final poster was put together with everyone's efforts, with my visual direction.




Defining Research Questions

To begin the research process, we first came up with some general questions we wanted to ask. 

1. Who are we designing this solution for?

  • Does this design solution consider users with physical or mental disorders?
  • What are realistic limitations we must consider when designing innovative solutions for people (stakeholder influence, creator bias, socio-economic bias)?

2. Where will our designs be directly implemented?

  • How will or will our design changes affect the environment or natural organization of existing systems?
  • Does the project design positively tackle an issue relevant in the space, or is change more harmful for the future of the space?

3. What are our core project ideas?

  • How do we successfully translate these ideas into tangible design solutions?
  • How do we unify any potentially conflicting project ideas?
Artboard 4@5x.png

Applying research methods

We learned about various methods and strategies to perform design research. In this section, we applied a few of the most relevant research strategies to obtain data that we gauged would be helpful to us.


Stakeholer's Map  + Territory Map

We broke down the related people and places that are affected and would be affected by the bike parking system. The wheel on the left is a stakeholder's map that looks at the units of people that are involved within organizations with different functions. The wheel on the right is a territory map that outlines the locations and higher-level organizations that are involved.

 Stakeholders Map: who would be involved and who would be affected

Stakeholders Map: who would be involved and who would be affected

 Territory Map: the scope 

Territory Map: the scope 


Interactive Drawing / Heat Map Analysis

We had an interactive element to our surveying method, which was asking participants to draw out the routes they take around campus. This method was very specific to the research question that we had in that biking routes are an essential component of the biking experience, and the routes that bikers choose may affect the ways they parks and the locations they usually park at.

Participants' responses also provided us with information that we may have overlooked, catching our attention in routes we neglected and indicating to us which locations were popular for parking hence would need more thought in considering the spacing issue. We were able to indirectly observe behavior patterns through looking at the common routes that participants took, and address specific issues to parking locations with unique issues of their own. 



We interviewed approximately 30 people in total, including professors, students, as well as staff workers. Some of the interviews were carried out in person, while others were done through email. The direct feedback we received was valuable to us in raising new issues that we may not have been aware of. Our interview questions are as the follows:


Regarding Current Bike Rack System:

  1. How do you feel about the current locations of the bike racks?
  2. What causes you to feel this way?
  3. What method do you think could be implemented to improve your experience?
  4. If you have any thoughts about flaws within the current system, what are the top three?

Regarding Bike:

  1. What type of biker do you consider yourself?
  2. Why did you decide to get a bike?
  3. How far away from campus do you live?
  4. What type of bike do you own, and what is its approximate value (if willing to share)?
  5. How often do you bike?
  6. In what scenarios/context do you usually bike? (e.g. time of day, situations, etc.)
  7. How much attachment do you have to your bike? How would you feel if you’d lost it?



Field Study

We went to a few of the main bike parking locations on campus to do field studies.
On the way, we observed many behaviors of how people really use the spaces, both things that work and don't work. Below are some documentations of what we found:



Based on the data we acquired through personal interviews and on-site survey responses, we gathered that the biggest concerns on the current bike racks on campus included lack of bike fixing stations, need for better accommodations for Pittsburgh's extreme weather conditions, a need for a poster indicating guidelines and best practices, need for more long-term storage systems, and need for better consideration of location and number of bike racks. Based on the density of complaints and suggestions, we concluded that the most immediate problems included the lack of covering and lack of consideration for bike rack locations.



Solution Ideation


Our proposed design solutions has 3 parts:

  1. A nest-like covering for existing bike racks. Many of our interviewees suggested that modifications instead of replacements could be made for existing bike system. Thus, we decided to simply add a covering to address the inclement weather — a solution that's both realistic, and budget-friendly.
  2. Easy-to-install mini bike racks in locations that don't currently have storage, i.e. outside Doherty and outside Wean. These will function in addition to the current bike system, especially serving those looking for short term bike storage. 
  3. Bike-or-Not — an app that updates real-time conditions (weather, availability of parking spaces) to the biker to help him/her decide whether it is a good idea to bike to campus. This app is a great opportunity to entirely remove many of the mentioned issues.

Poster Summary

biker's nest_final_edit-01.png