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Adopting Design Thinking Principles in Micromobility

Woman rents electric scooter via an app from her smartphone


The future of micromobility design is ever-evolving. As ridership increases and communities embrace the trend toward more efficient and convenient transportation options, developers need to focus their efforts on a proactive approach to micromobility solutions rather than a reactive attitude toward solving a problem.

Known by the term design thinking, automotive companies have been improving their user experiences for in-car assistants and infotainment especially. For mobility companies, the approach is even more important as the platform leaves less room for flaws in the design with fewer areas to compensate for shortcomings.

Here’s how design thinking principles affect micromobility trends and why it’s so important.

All users are unique

Regardless of the industry, any SaaS or technology provider is attempting to create broad appeal, generally speaking. A single designer may be able to ideate a brilliant platform or service that tackles a wide spectrum of areas, but there will be omissions and redundancies that they can’t identify for themselves.

A foundational tenet of design thinking principles is a team approach. Along with developers, expand the project to involve diverse partners that can consider the legal side, the supply chain, the branding and marketing, and more. A diverse team will help you flesh out a robust wireframe.

A clear goal focuses the team

More than just launching a platform to rent an e-scooter or e-bike, micromobility companies need to define problem they are aiming to solve. A platform or app can be developed without a clearly-defined target, but it’s apt to be riddled with both superficial and integral issues that are more difficult to solve after the fact. A clear goal provides focus for the complete team and a reference point for any developments to be checked against.

 Woman riding an electric scooter

It’s about the experience

With a team assembled and a goal established, the next principle is to ideate. For micromobility, examples of ideation can include what the app’s appearance should be, the logical flow or progression through a process, and how to expand the service in the future.

Ideation allows for ideas, both good and bad, to be gathered by the team in a safe environment along with a design services consultancy, free from judgment. At the core, ideation should ensure that the micromobility user journey is central and extraneous ideas are filtered out.

Empathy inspires relatable design

What is it that an e-scooter rider wants from an app? Which micromobility digital trends can the design team integrate to solve a user’s pain point? What does it look like to borrow and return the vehicle, and could it be better? Just like engineers do for the automotive user experience, design team members create prototypes by putting themselves in the user’s shoes.

More than any other aspect of design thinking, empathy fosters excellent, relatable designs that users recognize and are inclined to use. Empathy is what finds solutions to problems you wouldn’t otherwise realize existed.

Testing and learning are never complete

The final stage of design thinking principles is to test, learn iterate, and repeat. It’s possible to develop an app, release it, and work out the kinks in realtime: continuous validation. However, that’s unlikely to promote your offering with users who encounter an incomplete product. Whether it’s for a safety certification prior to borrowing an e-scooter, ML that uses a smartphone camera to detect if the rider is wearing a helmet, or the compliance side that integrates the app with payment methods, it’s crucial to test everything and fix flaws to the best of the team’s ability before going live.

Design teams can glean from automotive digital solutions that use design thinking for their products and services and apply it to micromobility. The most important component? Empathy. Star consulting services can walk you through the design process, ensuring that the design thinking principles are integrated for the best possible offering.