We conducted a series of guerrilla design research interviews in Shanghai (China) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) to uncover insights and opportunities that could inform the design of scooters that respond to local needs and habits.
Scooters are an essential ingredient in city traffic of most growing Asian markets from China in the North to Indonesia in the South.
As often seen as the de-facto means to personal transportation in developing markets and many assume that as soon as wallets grow so will people’s vehicles, however, when witnessing (and way too often being part of) the epic traffic jams in Asian metropolis like Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok and Jakarta, today one can’t help but wonder whether the car is really the answer to individual transportation in the future.
Workers are incredibly resourceful in imagining all kinds of business opportunities on a scooter. There are a few distinct scooter types on the streets of Asia. These factory models have been heavily customized for the owner’s business purpose, which sometimes makes them almost unrecognizable. This refreshing variety of add-ons turns each scooter completely unique like an animal that lives and keeps evolving.
Rhinos are strong and sturdy, specialised in loading and delivering large-sized and heavy goods. They move faster than camels and can be seen around factories.
Antelopes are designed to be small and fast, moving across city streets flexibly. They are good at delivering time-sensitive goods like your takeaway lunch.
Camels are specialized in loading and delivering large amount of goods, but they are usually slower in terms of speed.
Built with the consideration of carrying tools, equipments and materials to offer temp jobs and services, hermit crabs are almost like moving offices.
Peacocks are built with the consideration of advertising, displaying, selling and storing products on the streets.
Equipped with the ability to store, cook and serve foods and beverages on the street, they are mobile restaurants that are almost as big as a dinosaur.
Taking the metaphor one step further, just like animals live and survive in their own habitats, the same rule applies to scooters. To demonstrate this idea, we created a scooter-watching guide with a fictional city map. The map consists of functional units of a typical city like residential areas, business districts, schools, factories and metro stations. We marked each “species” of scooters where they are most likely to be spotted according to our research and if you happens to be one of the scooter lovers, go out and find them!
Illustrations: Henry Hu
The original article was published as:
Rainer Wessler, Azure Yang, Simone Rebaudengo,
Henry Hu, and Julia Nasca (2015) Hacking the Scooter