VanMoof's Electrified-S is a Smart Bicycle that features in integrated system that includes a Pedal-Assisted Motor, Safety Lights, Bluetooth, Bike Lock, and GPS tracking. All of these features can be controlled through an App on your mobile phone. On the bike itself is a touch-control that gives the rider access to Power-Assist Mode and the Lock. You can technically access a more advanced menu, but it is a cumbersome process that most riders will not want to deal with. Unfortunately, buried in that advanced menu is the Safety Light Controls.
In this project I redesigned the User Interactions of the Electrified-S to grant the rider easy access to the Safety Light Modes as well as the Power Assist. In doing so I resolved a secondary issue where heavy rain may cause the Touch-Control to continuously switch between Power Assist Modes. Theres also the ancillary benefit of creating continuity between the Basic and Advanced Menu Systems.
Riding while distracted can be dangerous for both the cyclist and the public, especially at night. Instead of reaching for your phone and taking several focused steps to toggle the lights on, simply hold the Touch-Control for 3 seconds, release, and tap. I think most people can do that without taking their eyes off the road.
Here is a brief intro to how the Touch-Control works on the Electrified-S.
1. Simply touch and hold on the center ring for 3 seconds and the system will switch to Power-Assist Settings. Continue to hold, and every second the mode will step up from 0 to 4 as indicated by the quartered ring. Once you're on the desired Power Mode, release.
2. Tapping the center ring will temporarily releases the mechanism that secures the Anti-Theft Bicycle Chain.
- Over-reliance on Technology -
Keep in mind, you can only* control the Lights on the Electrified-S through the Mobile App. Sometimes it's not that easy to access my phone before or during my commute on the bicycle.
Skinny Jeans: If you're riding and that phone is in your front pocket, it's not coming out.
Gloves: You can't work a touch-phone with gloves on. Even if you have conductive gloves, which I do, it's still annoying trying to get into my pocket to fish out my phone.
Safety: Should you be distracted on the phone while riding a bicycle through the city streets?
Bluetooth: Connection to the bicycle is spotty at times. Occasionally, I'll launch the app and it will tell me to enable Bluetooth. When I go to setting, Bluetooth was enabled. If the app still doesn't connect, an app reopen will do the trick.
Automatic lights: There is an option to let the bicycle daylight sensors control the state of the Safety-Lights but that isn't a practical solution for everybody. Maybe you don't want to draw attention in certain places, or perhaps you want to conserve battery power.
*As mentioned before, there is an advanced menu that a rider can access by Pressing and Holding the Key Fob button for 9 seconds. Let go and immediately touch and hold the Touch-Control on the Bicycle for 3 seconds. After which the system is now in Advanced Settings.
- Rain -
Since the Touch Control is activated through a capacitive sensor, In the event that it is exposed to liquid, the system will register that as a touch. For example, When riding in torrential rain, the Touch-Control will activate and continuously cycle through Power-Assist Modes. This causes the rider to experience erratic power shifts while pedaling.
When asked in a survey, "Which feature will you like to see in the next VanMoof firmware update?" The most requested was, FIX Bluetooth Connectivity...😕 But the second most requested feature was to have control over the lights.
redesign the Interaction model
In the chart below you can follow the control scheme that activates, selects, and commits the settings. Using this method, riders can toggle the Safety-Lights and Power-Assist Modes in a single session. With a little practice, this can be performed without looking at the Control Panel.
I re-created the Touch-Control in Axure Pro and loaded it with conditional logic so it can perform each function within this single button element. The overall user experience is similar to the original except for a few things highlighted below:
Exterior Ring: Indicates to the user that the system recognizes an attempt to access Settings Mode. If the user continues to hold (3 seconds) the rings will fill until Settings is activated. Once in Settings, the ring will stay filled until the session ends. After which it will return to its normal function.
Interior "Quarter" Ring: Once Settings Mode is activated, the Quarter Rings can indicate multiple things depending on which Mode it's in. For Example, In the image below, the user enters the Light Settings and taps twice to enable Automatic Mode. Those actions are indicated in the Quarter Ring where 50% indicates Lights On, 100% indicates Lights ON Automatic (Daylight sensing), and 0% indicates Lights Off.
Neglecting to give the rider the ability to manually control the lights on the Electrified-S is a misstep, but something that can be corrected with software. The solution presented above isn't the only option but it does utilize functions that already exist in the Standard and Advanced Setting Modes. All I did was merge them and add a simple feedback indicator. Most importantly, it resolves the Primary and Secondary Issues mentioned above (except for non-capacitive gloves).
1. The rider is no longer relying on the mobile app and has manual control of the lights.
2. In the event that it's unintentionally activated by rain, it will cycle through Light and Power Mode without committing any settings.
VanMoof dedicated 4 years to building their bicycles from the ground up. They loaded it with features that every cyclist needs to stay safe and protect their investment. The hardware is tried and tested but the software is still evolving. As a proud owner and member of the VanMoof Community I felt I should contribute my skills to nudge that process forward.
You actually made it to the end!
I fell asleep twice while writing it.
THANKS For Viewing!