What I did this week

Friday 19th October

We held the first group meeting of the week, keeping up the same routine of many meetings that don’t last too long. This meeting was set so that we could begin progress with our newly submitted Aber Bike Hire idea.

During the first meeting, using what we’d learnt from the previous lecture, we discussed what documentation or research needs to be started – Use Cases, Rich Picture and User analysis were a few of the ones that cropped up as things that we might need to start right now.

We had an informal discussion where people spoke freely about what users should be able to do on the website, therefore this was discussing the scope of the IT solution and business. I believe that it is important that we keeps focused on doing a few small things well, so that the website isn’t too broadly ranged or contain too many features – it is primarily a bike hire company, there shouldn’t be too many off shoots, at least initially.

Everybody had different ideas about what users should be able to do on the site and how the ordering process should work, the ideas are good and mainly similar, however it is important that we do some work to ensure everyone agrees on the core functionality and design of the website.

It was decided that we should begin by doing research into what existing bike / motorbike / car rental websites look like, so that we can see what layouts and order methods seem most successful, find out what information they include on their pages and see what additional features and services are offered, besides plain rental. Seb and I took up the task of looking at these sites in the same industry and performing some analysis.

Tom and Sam were tasked to create some initial use case diagrams for a small number of scenarios. We thought this would be a good so that we have an idea of how the users will interact with our website and what actions they should be able to perform. Once we have these use cases, we can decide whether the interaction would work, could it be improved or should we explore different ways in which the user can achieve their goal (such as renting a bike or contacting customer support).

Ian was tasked to create a rich picture. This will be useful so that we can define the business’ stakeholders and how they will interact with the business. It won’t just be bike rental customers who are stakeholders, for example the Welsh Government may have an interest due to it being a local activity, also there are the health and environmentally friendly aspects of cycling which they may want to promote.

The next meeting will be on Monday, I have booked us the Joy Welch meeting room – it will be quieter than the Union and will mean that Rick Astley won’t be joining us.

2.5 hours

Sunday 21st October

I spent time at home researching existing bike and motorbike rental websites. After browsing approximately 8 websites, I decided to narrow the analysis down to a range of 4 websites, 2 motorbike rental sites and 2 cycling rental websites.

The reason I’ve looked at motorbike rental sites too is due to the small amount of choice of cycling websites, also the websites should broadly be aiming for the same goal – rent the product, sell extras, provide information.

I decided to present my findings in a PowerPoint presentation, so that it was easier for everyone to view, otherwise they’d be black and white A4 print outs and scraps of paper that I’d probably lose. I looked at what the homepage looked like, what the homepage was used for and what additional pages the sites had. I tested out renting a bike, where possible. I have the document here:

Powerpoint, PDF

3 hours

Monday 22 October 2012

I presented my website analysis to the other members of the group, I believe that it has helped us decide what should be feature on our website. Using this information we can decide on things such as – is our homepage an ‘about us’ or are we going straight to selling? This can be discussed in future.

We were also previously unsure of how we would set pricing for our bikes, we have now seen that it is standard to have a day rate / week rate / month rate.

Seb had printed his document containing screenshots of popular car rental websites, such as Enterprise Rent-a-Car. We noticed a pattern that most or all of those sites had a form on their homepage, so that a user could go straight to beginning the order process.

I think it’s important to remember that those looking to rent a car have gone there for that sole purpose only, while finding out the price and whether the type of car they want is available. With cycle hire we need to consider that users may want be persuaded by attractive routes, events and selling it as a day out or adventure. They may want to browse further information and find things going on in the area that involve bikes – after all it is a local / regional site not a national site, so will have a different target audience.

Sam and Tom had produced some use-case diagrams of some of the main interactions, we will be reviewing these in the next meeting. Sam had also produced a site map / flow diagram of how the website may link together.

Ian was not able to attend the meeting, therefore he will present his rich picture at our next meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

2.5 hours

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