Lyte is a solution for a new, farther reaching and more comprehensive full-frame LED bike light system. 




Lyte is to be paired with a digital application that allows for maximum customization for regular cyclist, commuters, and road bikers.

My Role


UX/UI Design Lead

Works Completed


User Research / Logo & Visual Identity / Story & Messaging
Wireframing and Mockups / 3-D Rendering

After extensive interviews and research, this app responds to increased consumer desire to customize bike light color palette, light flashing speeds and brightness, as well as a timed component to turn lights on or off as soon as the time of day changes.

Our Process


Our multidisciplinary team interviewed bikers to analyze their biggest issues or complaints with biking. We talked to a wide range of users, from casual student riders to full-time bike mechanics and city commuters.

Additionally, we sent out a survey with similar questions and received 94 responses from bikers, pedestrians, and drivers. Out of all these interviews, 78% of bikers had felt unsafe before while riding, and 81% of those who answered yes had felt unsafe while riding at night.

Respondents mentioned that they had experienced instances of which drivers were not aware of biker rights, bike laws, bike hand signals, passing too closely, tailgating aggressively, not being aware of bikers on the road, and general misconduct. There were many accidents and crashes reported in the survey. Drivers also mentioned that bikers did not always respect road rules/stop signs/red lights or were not visible.


Compiling survey responses and spreadsheets

One of the biggest issues we found in the biking visibility theme was that many bikers either did not bike with lights or that the lights they did have were not noticeable to drivers or pedestrians. Furthermore, we decided to focus on this as our main problem within the cycling community.


This realization motivated us to do more research by taking a look at bike light laws in VA and found on VDOT’s website that:

Every bicycle ridden between sunset and sunrise must have at least one white headlamp with the light being visible at least 500 feet to the front. The bicycle must have a red reflector on the rear visible at least 600 feet to the rear. On roads posted with speed limit of 35 mph or greater, the bicyclist must additionally be equipped with at least one red tail light visible from 500 feet to the rear. Taillights may be steady or blinking, are allowed under all conditions, and may be attached to the cycle or rider.

Often, most car crashes (1 in 5 to be specific, not including car-bike crashes) are due to distracted driving (texting while driving, looking at everything but the road).

We utilized our interviewee’s experiences as user stories to contextualize our findings.


“As a bike commuter, I want to be able to be seen in the early mornings and at dusk during rush hour traffic, especially when other drivers may be stressed and possibly driving recklessly. My wife is concerned with my visibility because I was hit by a car last year.”
“As a bike mechanic, I need something to educate clients who may not know as much about bike lighting and about how important it is to be visible while biking.”
“As a college student, I use my bike occasionally between classes at going to the grocery store. I chose not to use a bike helmet because it’s cumbersome to carry between classes.”


Solution




3-D Rendering of the solution: Lyte


From the research that we gathered, we were able to reach a mutual conclusion. Our proposed idea for this solution is a new, farther reaching and more comprehensive full-frame LED light system with a paired digital application that would allow for maximum customization for regular cyclists, commuters, and road bikers. This light system would remind cyclists to use their lights to stay as safe as possible on the roads.

We have 3 key features within the physical aspect of this project that distinguish the product from others.

  1. The LED light system covers the entire bike frame, which will improve biker visibility to the entire road environment, drivers, pedestrians, and other bikers.

  2. In one of our interviews with a bike mechanic, we learned that drivers inherently look for headlights, and because bike lights are not quite as bright, there could be a higher probability of a driver not seeing a bike. Our light system will cover the back of the seat stays (the back bars of the bike that connect the top tube and the rear cassette,) which is important because it will simulate car tail lights.

  3. In our research, we found that the ability to personalize a light system to match specific preferences would be highly valued by customers as there is such a high premium placed on product personality. This, along with the GPS tracking functionality, will be fully integrated with the companion app.

Research and Iterations of Digital App


After taking in the physical research interviews and surveys, we went out again into the real world to talk to bikers and mechanics to see what people would want in a digital application companion unit.

We interviewed 32 bikers in person and 92 digitally. Many emphasized their wish for the ability to customize their bike light color palette, light flashing speeds and brightness, as well as some sort of timed component in which you could have lights turn on or off as soon as the time of day changed.

We took these interviews into account when planning out how our app would look and function. We started our research by looking at other apps out there with a similar purpose to ours — biking apps, running apps, mile counters — to get some visual inspiration for our own app.

One example of inspiration: Fitbit’s circular motif
We wanted our layout to be simple, easy to understand, and as user-friendly as possible. Since we wanted to keep the home screen simple, our group decided on a circle motif modeled after our LYTE logo we had come up with at the beginning of this process.




Final App Interface






Home and onboarding screens. We focused on keeping the initial parts simple and visual to make it easy to utilize for someone about to get on a bike.

We integrated Google Maps in order to streamline the rider’s experience so that one would not need to open two programs at once. Users can customize how long they want their bike lights to be on, as well as set reminders to turn their lights on at a certain time of day.

Further customization of the Lyte itself so bikers can specify their preferred lighting style. The right screen shows a loading screen that will pop up that visualizes important laws that bikers may not know.

Challenges


Throughout this project, we experienced a couple of logistical problems that we had to solve conceptually. These problems included how we would secure our LED light system to avoid robbery. We solved this issue by including a microchip to track the lights if they were stolen. Additionally, we were having issues figuring out how ethical our solution was, as we did not want to encourage people to use the app while biking. This would defeat the purpose of our proposed solution. We propose to solve this issue by including daily safety tips and a notification similar to the Waze app, where individuals can choose to have their phone set to unusable while riding and be able to continue to use while at a stop.

Conclusion


There is an astounding disparity between the levels of knowledge/familiarity among bikers, drivers, and pedestrians regarding the rules of the road and general safety. According to our survey questions, many responders expressed dissatisfaction with the current relationship between bikers and drivers, and in many of their answers, they mentioned visibility, education, and infrastructure as key crisis spots. Through our user research and application creation, we believe we have begun to target some significant safety issues within the biking community. Inherently, a product like Lyte cannot substitute for critical infrastructural changes to the roads (such as bike lanes or more rigorous laws) as there is a huge bureaucracy around those systems, but through its use, bikers can become more physically visible and hopefully reduce the number of accidents in the area.