Create an experience that enables kids to feel the thrill of driving , while letting parents feel in control
Actev Motors is on a mission to create electric go-karts, called SmartKarts, that allow kids (ages 5-10) to experience the thrill of driving while staying safe. The SmartKart needed a companion App, called the Actev App, to let parents have some control over the SmartKart, such as speed limits and emergency stop. The goal of the Actev App was to allow the SmartKart to grow with the child as they gain more experience driving, and for the parents to feel that their child is safe while driving.
Create an iOS and Android App (Actev App) that connects to the SmartKart, and has specific controls over the SmartKart. The interaction between the App and the SmartKart had to be flawless and work without fail.
I designed the Actev App for iOS and Android and worked with two engineers to develop. The Actev App connects to the Arrow SmartKart via Wifi, and through the App, parents can stop, adjust speed, create a geo-fence as well as many other features for the SmartKart. Actev Motors started shipping the Arrow SmartKart in December 2016.
I started with interviewing parents whose children were ages 5-10 and currently had power wheel ride-on jeep or gas go-karts. I also read a lot of reviews and parent blogs about power wheels and other kids ride-on vehicles. The consistent message was that kids grew out of power wheels too fast because they were slow, but gas go-karts were too dangerous. Parents repeatedly voiced concerns about safety and how if they could “create a barrier” or “remotely stop” their kids from driving into traffic. The interview confirmed many assumptions the team had already made about features.
The interviews helped create user personas and prioritize features which dictated the design of the app.
The persons are unique in that they are a combo of the parents and the child. I created four different types of parent user personas and then mapped the App features to the personas.
Prioritization of Features
I created a team exercise for mapping the features to the user personas and then prioritizing the features. This was important not only for app development but the technical development of the SmartKart.
We determined that the three primary features of the app are the speedometer (gauge and limiter), gear shifter and emergency stop. The engineers made these features their top priority for developing flawless interaction with the app.
As the primary app features the speed limiter, gear shift and emergency stop are the most prominent on the Screen. They are visually the largest with the most interaction. This contributes to the ease of functionality. Parents can easily stop, shift gears and change the speed of the app with just one thumb.
Interaction of Emergency Stop
The Emergency stop function is one of the three primary app features. This is a user flow of how the user can emergency stop the SmartKart with the App.
We had to make sure that when a parent taps the emergency stop button the SmartKart stops. It might seem simple, but making it simple was very complicated. The stop button is located in the same place in the vertical and horizontal design of the app. This was so that no matter what direction of the phone the parent was able to tap the stop button, even without looking at the app.
We used the user personas to understand the frame of mind the user would be in when they hit the Emergency Stop. It would be a last resort type of action. When the user taps the stop button, the app automatically stops the SmartKart and shifts the SmartKart into the Park gear. The SmartKart is securely stopped, and the parent can make sure everything is 'ok.' The parent must tap Resume to get back to the regular driving mode and then shift the gear from Park to Drive. This allows the parent to make sure everything is safe before the user starts driving again. The driver must also not have their pedal on the gas when the parent is shifting from Park to Drive so that the SmartKart does not lunge forward.
This is a step by step user flow of the actions of the parent, app, and reactions of the SmartKart. It was important see what would be happening at each stage of an interaction to make sure their were no conflicting interactions and that the flow felt natural.
Testing App with SmartKart
We tested the main features of the app with over 30 users (parent using the app and child driving) to make sure the experience of adjusting speed, shifting gears, and emergency stop were seamless. We had to make sure that when a parent taps the emergency stop button the SmartKart stops. It might seem simple, but that is the point. The experience is not with the parent taping a button but that the SmartKart stops.
This video displays internal testing of the speed limiter feature of the app.
Arrow SmartKart started shipping units in December 2016. Visit Actev Motors to learn more.
Reviews from Amazon.com customers about the App:
“The GEO fence and speed control on the app is great to bring stop the driver. My little girl shouts at me when I turn the speed down and wants it max speed all the time.”
“The app is really useful for limiting max speed and driving area - especially when the neighbor kids try it out. One minor gripe is that my home wi-fi sometimes takes precedence over the kart wifi and I have to reconnect. I understand Actev is working on that.”
“Well built and very easy to control speed via the app.”
Promotional video for Actev Motors, explains and shows Actev App functionality.
Demo of Actev App control speed of Arrow Smartkart.
UX Designer: Courtney Beyer
Android Engineer: Boris Kotak
iOS Engineer: Clement Lee