PComp: Week 3-Interactive Technology for the Public

Every morning, I walk past a Citi Bike station without thinking much of it.  I have heard many opinions on it but haven’t really put much thought into it until now.

Citi Bikes are a bike sharing program that allows a person to check out a bike for an allotment of time then return it to any other station.  Depending on the location of these, they can be used commuting or just touring the city.  Overall, the bikes are used as an alternative form of transportation to subways and cars and to owning a personal bike.  IMG_1913

The interactivity of these comes in two forms: the station itself and the app. The station has a screen that you touch and follow the steps to pay and unlock your bike from the station.  Although the steps are laid out on the station, there seemed to be a variety of issues when the users were interacting with it.  One user commented that it was confusing; however, I couldn’t tell at what part they were at when doing it.  Also, the taking of the bikes and placing things in the “basket” seemed difficult for users and became the longest part of the process.      IMG_1909

While the station had the user interacting physically with the bike, the other technical interaction comes from the app.  I didn’t see anyone using the app at the time but I know from researching that it can be used to locate a station and find out the availability of bikes.  I think the app can also easily show how Citi Bikes is a system in itself. As a bike is taken from one location, it is returned in another.

I think the interactivity of Citi Bikes comes from showing that it is a moving system and each user is playing a part in the movement when they check out and in a bike in different locations.  Also, the station has the person interacting on a digital as well as physical level.   However, this technology may go against the ideas presented in Norman’s and Crawford’s work because it only uses hands for the interface and doesn’t listen and think in the way Crawford imagines.


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