KYMCO is a Taiwanese scooter company that recently collaborated with the IOT innovator Noodoe to tackle connected driving for scooters. Having previously worked with the startup on various projects, they asked if I’d like to help out.
As an avid scooter rider myself this project came in handy and I gladly accepted the challenge. So I teamed up with the software and hardware teams to develop and innovate new experiences in connected driving. This included solving visual design, user experience, motion design and connectivity issues.
Context & Challenges
Bringing the sort of connectivity features that are common on car dashboards to the scooter world presented some challenges.
Utilizing the dashboard to display complex maps or minute details that the eye doesn’t absorb in a glimpse can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Bluetooth connectivity and transfer rates were also a major concern. We simply didn’t want to drain the user’s phone battery just to accomodate a fancy dashboard.
The app had to be simple enough so that the everyday user can switch out a cool dashboard on the fly, while also allowing power users to unleash their creativity and create their own, custom dashboard designs.
Since there wasn’t any similar product on the market, we couldn’t just look over someone's shoulders. Instead, we had to do our due diligence and analyze each aspect closely.
I started off by scrutinizing the normal user behavior in order to figure out what is safe and how we intend for the product to be used. The rider's safety was definitely my main concern so we needed to create something that is real simple and intuitive to use. Did you know that you travel over 25 meters when you take your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds?
Goals & Objectives:
The dashboard should not distract the user from driving at any time.The app/scooter connection must be as quick and as seamless as possible.The app should provide quick access to all necessary information.The app should provide the ability to design custom dashboards.The app should provide a platform for like minded to share their designs with each other.
Prototyping was the most effective way to get an idea what the real product would feel like. I was able to easily distribute these as videos and recycle them for Usability Testing.
In the early stages I focused mainly on representing the design areas with the highest risk. Later phases allowed me to focus more on micro interactions, which I created in Pixate.
I also experimented and came up with complementary documentation to communicate animation and timing keyframes for our interactions and animations.
1. Create Mode
Users can design their own speedometer, clock, weather and compass creations to a certain extend. While the basic functions allow for limited customizability, in Expert Mode a user can get creative by designing his own watch hands or changing the background image according to current weather conditions.
2. Unifying Speed
Since the dashboard is set to be featured on a wide range of scooters: from Asia, to Europe to the US, we had to find a way to always show the correct speed range for your scooter. So if the user were to install a design that was created for a 40 MPH dashboard, it will show the correct speed on a 180 Km/h display.
3. Connecting a Scooter
The first time a phone is paired with a scooter, the user needs to verify his/her identity using a 6-digit code displayed on both devices. The system then remembers the user and automatically connects when he/she approaches the bike. Furthermore, the scooter greets its recognized owner with a friendly welcome light, thereby assisting the user in singling out his/her bike.
4. Up/Down/Toggle Buttons
There had to be a way to toggle through the screens and switch from message mode to dashboard view. We achieved this with a simple up/down/toggle button configuration, accessible on the right handlebar with a convenient press of the thumb.
No smart scooter experience would be complete without the ability to display incoming notifications and messages. Instead of blocking the dashboard with a notification as soon as it comes in, we simply indicate the sort of notification during the ride and display the full message once the scooter comes to a complete stop. Again, safety first.
6. Find My Scooter
Ever parked your scooter somewhere and forgot the exact location? Every time a user turns off the bike, the GPS coordinates are automatically recorded and sent to the phone. If needed, the user can then open the app and be guided back to the last parked location of the bike.
The dashboard was first introduced to the world on the EICMA 2016 and CES 2017 and had great feedback from visitors, as well as the press.
It went into mass production and market distribution in the first half of 2017, where it will be installed as the standard configuration on the KYMCO AK 550 worldwide and as an optional feature on the KYMCO Like 150i on the US market. In the future, more new models will integrate the experience.