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How we designed Paxira: An interview with Anyi Sun

Posted on 17 December, 2017 in Apps

How was Paxira designed? What was the design process?

From Day 1, we knew we wanted to create a holistic cycling tracking experience in Paxira. We want Paxira to be your cycling buddy, instead of just an app that records your statistics and routes. To accomplish such goal, I implemented a design process that focused on a cyclist journey.

One of the first exercises that we did was to map out the entire process of going for a ride, from the pre-ride preparation such as filling the water bottle, dressing up, and checking the weather, to riding the bicycle on the cycling lane and potentially taking a break in the middle, and to eventually sharing the cycling experience on social media. This mapping exercise enabled us to holistically view their journey and evaluate how Paxira can be their companion.

The creation of the user journey map came in handy during the wireframing stage. I used it as a reference to design the site map, which communicates how the content in the app is meaningfully separated and placed. When designing the actual content on a page, the journey map was also used to illustrate the touchpoint of the app content.

What are some of the strategies you use when making design decisions?

To create a holistic user experience, we created a persona for the brand by asking ourselves “if Paxria were your cycling buddy, what personality would it have?” We then listed out some characteristics that we want Paxira to have:

Friendly and never cold

Fun but not childish

Simple but not dull

Cool but not aligning

These statements eventually became the guiding principles for making design decisions. Whenever I was stuck in a bottleneck, or faced a difficult design question, I asked myself whether the design would create a friendly, fun, simple and cool user experience. After these questions are answered, the solution to a design challenge became obvious. These characteristics drove every design effort in the app - from visual design and interface layout to UX copy.

How is designing for Paxira different than designing for other apps?

Paxira is unique in a sense that it offers a hybrid of features that combines cycling tracking and gamification. On one side, we are building a trusted app that provides reliable tracking, on the other side, we are designing a really fun experience that’s similar to a game. Therefore, it created a special challenge of delivering a user experience that would masterfully integrate the two seemingly contradictory attributes.

To tackle such challenge, I drew inspirations from other industries. Apps and websites like Duolingo and Codecademy did a wonderful job of combining the two different worlds of learning and gaming and successfully motivated users to fulfill their goals. There were a lot to learn from them in regards to user experience design and feature design.

My background in Psychology also helped me tremendously in designing an app that aims to motivate and engage via gamification. During the course of my education, I became familiar with some well-established theories of motivation. While designing the user experience the app, I was able to put my knowledge to work and translate these theories into design strategies.

Therefore, every design element in the app, from the colors of the progress bar, to the wording of a warning message, was derived from these inspirations and attentively crafted to build the best user experience.

How does Paxira distinguish itself from other similar apps?

Design is a differentiator for Paxira. Because we focused on design and used a human-centered design approach from the get-go, we can proudly say that we believe Paxira has the best user experience among all its competitors.

When Paxira first started, we noticed a lot of tracking apps with user experience that’s not on par with industrial standards. We saw that as a problem because first of all, these apps are confusing to use, but most importantly, whether a cyclist can easily and efficiently complete actions on an app affects his or her safety during the ride. Imagine using an app with unintuitive interfaces while riding a bicycle. Will that distract you from keeping an eye on the road? With this concern in mind, we implemented a design-driven approach to craft the in-app experience and features.

We aimed to build a fun and reliable cycling tracker for cyclists, and the design was a channel for us to execute our vision. There are many design details in the app that I believe subtly makes the app even more pleasant to use, and I do think the overall design direction, as well as these details, are a key differentiator for Paxira.

Download Paxira and be a Part of Us!

Paxira is specially designed to enhance your cycling experience. Our mission is to motivate cyclists to ride more often, and ultimately create a positive impact on health and environment.