UX teardown of Muving’s Moped — Why I spent 5 minutes figuring out how to unlock Muving’s moped

Every morning I come across a bright yellow shared/rent-a-vehicle type moped. Now this thing has been on the corner of the same pavement for at least 3 days now. And while I have used Bird and Lime, I was curious as to how this moped worked. My assumption was that it was not very different.

The moped was owned by a company called Muving.

I had only ever rode on a scooter once before and it was a disaster, but out of curiosity, I wanted to see how this worked.

The first thing that caught my eye were two of these big stickers on the moped’s trunk:

My behaviour and thoughts right after reading the instructions above

This simple, unassuming sticker with 3 instructions left me stumped on the pavement, in the scorching heat for a solid 5 minutes. I made a genuine and concerted effort to try and figure out where this cable was and why it mattered to me unlocking this moped.

Don’t get me wrong, I could have easy downloaded the app, tried to unlock it and then maybe I would get more information. But, I wanted to scout this thing out a bit.

The pictures that came with the instructions looked so vague that I assumed “the cable” was near the moped’s handlebars since it is where anyone would go to try and start a vehicle, right? Well, no, it was not there. Then I looked at the wheels, where I did see some cables, but those just did not seem like the type of cables I should touch.

I started to wonder if this is why the scooter has been on this same pavement for so long. Maybe no one figured out how to use it? Or maybe, I was not an experienced scooter rider and there was some sort of expert knowledge only riders with a scooter licence would understand?

So I gave up and tried downloading the app to scan the QR code to see what would happen, but of course, there was a tedious signup form and a paywall. I just wanted to know how it worked first though.

What Muving wanted to communicate to users

After a while of circling the vehicle and reading the instructions again, I finally got it!

Here is the image again (zoomed into the part I completely missed)

The instructions were not about how to unlock the moped, but instead they were instructions of how to access the moped’s helmet — and basically this new system somehow included the use of a cable.

The cable that they were talking about was probably attached to the helmet inside the moped’s trunk. And to release the helmet, the cable needed to be disconnected (to prevent theft, I am assuming).

While this is great, the design is probably costing Muving some new users.

Most riders might have just downloaded the app, tried to use the QR code and figured it out, but I think we can definitely create a better, clearer user experience.

So, let’s breakdown the main problems behind the sticker’s design to better understand why I, and possibly many other users before me, had problems.

Why the instructions were problematic

1. Not sticking to conventions

My pre-existing knowledge of how to unlock similar services

My only experience using a shared, rent-a-vehicle service was a Bird e-scooter or a Mobike (shared bicycle). And so, my pre-existing knowledge of such services was to follow the instructions listed on the scooter in order to unlock and use it.

Now when Muving pasted a sticker with instructions on its moped, I immediately thought these instructions were required to unlock the moped. When in actual fact, Muving concentrated on providing instructions about a new system to access their helmets.

It is extremely common for users to ignore information that does not fit into their schema and assume that something works a certain way based on past experiences/conventions. That is why testing becomes so important as there is sometimes no way to really predict such issues.

The universal understanding of how an “Attention” sign works.

Muving’s design for its helmet instructions incorporated the structure of a typical “Attention” sign. And typically the conventions/structure of an “Attention” sign is a little different when compared to how Muving decided to use it.

Here are the designs side by side

If you examine the inherent design of an “Attention” sign, it is meant to bring attention to the instructions inside of its red borders. And so, we are used to following the convention that the most important information lies within the box, while the rest can be ignored.

I suspect that this is why I blatantly ignored certain text and went straight to reading the instructions. Essentially, Muving’s instructional header text (eg: These are instructions on how to unlock your helmet) was categorized as description text.

And while, it is neither my fault nor it is Muving’s, it does impede with what Muving wanted to communicate.

2. Visibility, Readability, Consistency and Durability of Instructions

I wonder why such a light pink was chosen. And on top of that, it was only chosen for Steps 1 and 3.

It affects visibility and readability. In addition, the integrity of such a light font colour is further deteriorated by outdoor conditions.

I won’t elaborate much more on this because I believe it could have been addressed with an understanding of basic design principles.

3. Being explicit

Verbiage

Anytime we design something, especially instructions, it becomes incredibly helpful to be explicit.

For example, when referring to “the Cable”, it might have been more helpful to include information such as its location, or even why you’ll need to disconnect the cable. Eg: “Inside this trunk, you’ll find a helmet attached to a cable (to keep it from being stolen of course). Disconnect the Cable to release your helmet and enjoy your ride!”

This is a classic example of when trying to over-simplify instructions only further complicates usability.

Images used

Images are great and can be used to help users visualize a lot of important information. However, the ones used in Muving’s moped instructions were so vague and unhelpful that it would have probably been better not to have them at all.

As designers, we have to always question an image’s usefulness in an experience. Why an image is there and how a user perceives that image in relation to the task at hand are important questions.

A better solution would possibly be to have an image of a helmet that has a cable attached it to help users understand the context of the instruction.

Possible redesign suggestions

Now that we have defined the problems, there are many ways that we can redesign this instructions sticker to make the experience a seamless one for a new rider.

Although all designs need to be tested, here are just a few easy redesign suggestions that helped me flex my problem solving muscle.

Goals (Assumptions)

  1. To ensure new users can quickly and easily understand how to access the moped’s helmet and unlock it.
  2. Communicate to existing users that this particular moped incorporates a new system for securing its helmet.
  3. Ensure the security of Muving’s helmet.

Solution #1: Placement of information

Users don’t really need to worry about “the cable” until they actually access the trunk to try and gain access to the helmet. However, users do need to concentrate on the fact that there is a helmet and that it can be accessed through the trunk.

Based on that information, we can separate the information displayed outside of the trunk and the information that would be useful inside the trunk.

Sticker outside the trunk

Main user actions:

  • Unlock the moped.
  • Gain access to the helmet.
  • Use the moped

Sticker inside the trunk

Main user action: Unlock the helmet.

Solution #2: Rethinking the very need for helmet instructions on the vehicle at all.

To further eliminate the need of printing new/different instructions for every moped, Muving could also utilize their app to notify users about how to access helmets on different moped’s.

Here is an example of a workflow:

1. User sees instructions for how to unlock moped.

2. User unlocks the moped with the use of their mobile app.

3. User receives the following in-app pop-up:

These are just a few ways in which Muving can better it’s experience for users and I am sure there are various other ways as well.

I hope this has been slightly helpful.

I’m a User Experience Designer and Entrepreneur who does not believe in spending large amounts of money to start a business.