case study

Hubway Research and Redesign

Project overview

During a 5-day graduate “User Experience Boot Camp” we were given the case of evaluating and recommending improvements to the Hubway bike-sharing program that had recently launched in Boston. Each day of the course focused on a different step of the user experience process.

Despite the enthusiasm around the city at the existence of the program, feedback seemed to suggest that there was a lot of disappointment and confusion about the actual use of the bikes.


Our preliminary ideation involved sketching of solutions, but also more general analysis of the user interviews we’d done, and brainstorming what the fundamental needs were that we were attempting to solve.


My group’s kiosk prototype aimed at reducing lines by presenting different tasks on one of 3 sides, rather than simply having a kiosk with a single face, where people could rent a bike, return a bike, get a receipt, sign up for an account, or learn more about the program.

I also added a docking station that attempted to solve the ambiguity of Hubway’s docking stations about whether or not bikes had been properly returned, as we saw both in usability testing, and in online complaints via social media.

Findings & Design

Since we were told that our recommendations would actually be presented to the Hubway team in Boston, my focus when preparing my individual report was to keep everything as tangible and practical as possible, while still fulfilling my academic obligations.

I focused findings on the level of priority and redesigned screens on better-communicating the information on how to use the system.

I also included a further iteration of my docking station and a workflow for an SMS reminder service that could help users remember when to return their bikes.

Tools & methods:

  • Ethnographic research
  • Lean UX research
  • Moderated testing (both field and lab)
  • Low-fidelity sketching
  • Prototyping
  • Findings report and recommendations

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