Ride Planner: A Case Study

Problem: Harley-Davidson riders were not going on as many rides as they had in the past.

Goal: Increase ridership to 3–4 more rides per year.

Team: 1 Harley product owner, 1 Harley product manager, 3 Harley product stakeholders, 1 Pivotal product manager, myself, another Pivotal designer, and a Harley designer, 2 Harley iOS developers, 2 Pivotal iOS developers.

First we needed to understand the problem space.

Research Synthesis

We conducted 3–5 interviews a day for three weeks. We stayed really broad and focused on learning more about rider behaviors.

I like using Trello to organize our insights into higher level insights as we move forward. If you’re interested in this method I’ve written more about it.

Trello for mapping high level insights


  • People ride for errands, to commute, or to get around
  • Family time and other commitments keep riders from riding more, and bad weather keeps riders from riding
  • Finding a fun ride to go on is usually word of mouth — huge opportunity with this one.

We started sketching ideas to validate some of our assumptions.

We sketched solutions as a balanced team of engineers, designers, and product managers. After more rounds of sketching, we gained consensus by dot voting.

Dot voting on ideas to gain consensus

We then moved on to start validating some our assumptions.

We learned from our generative research that riders will usually text with other fellow riders while they’re deciding when/where to go riding.

Will riders be willing to use an app to help them make this decision?

How enticing would planned routes be?

Would riders trust rides from a brand like HD? If yes, what aspects about the decision making process are important to riders?

We tested a lot of ideas in our first run of low fidelity mockups:

We learned that:

  • Riders are always looking for new routes to try
  • A well known motorcycle brand carries a lot of trust of the quality and safety of a route
  • Riders care about rides near them, the duration of the ride, and the quality of the ride

Now confident we were on the right track, we started iterating and increasing fidelity.

A remote usability test with a rider

Getting feedback is a consistent part of my process. I like running design critiques with the entire team. It’s also really helpful to use post-its to consolidate similar feedback topics.

Design review to get feedback from the entire team

We continued this approach and iterated through prototyping, testing, and collecting feedback.

Iteration progression of the route list
Iterations on the route detail page

What we iterated towards was a validated experience to help riders find and enjoy rides near them.

The app is set to launch version 2 sometime in 2018, but for now check out a prototype of the main interactions: