We followed the principles of IDEO.ORG's Design Kit
We started off with a questionnaire. The goal was to gain basic information about our target group. We decided to reach a big amount of people and put our survey into a group of active runners, with more than eight thousand members. We got more than one hundred responses. The questionnaire had 10 questions in total. We gained some basic information from the responders and also questions about their running habits.
In the left image you see the result of one specific question. This question was important in our process. Because our concept up until this point was to give the user an element of surprise by not showing the route the user must run. As we can see from the graph above almost 70% of the participants have their usual route for running and only 14% of them like to explore new areas. To increase the number of people who are interested in new locations, it made sense to make the application to generate a random route for the runner and navigate him/her through music as the runner won’t be able to see the route on his/her device.
After the questionnaire we started working on prototypes to start testing our concept. We had the opportunity to test our concept with around sixty PABO students at the Effenaar. Because we wanted to test as much parts of our concept, we decided to test multiple things.
In our concept was described that we wanted to make a mobile application. For that we wanted to test if that would be fitted and if the user interface that we had in thought was understandable.
For prototyping one of the essential parts of our concept, we decided to make a quick and easy prototype. We used wireless headphones to navigate people through music. We didn’t tell them much before they started and they had to trust their gut feeling on what to do and what choice to make.
The results were both positive and negative. They all very quickly discovered what they had to do and which direction to go. That means that it felt very natural for them to follow the music and walk/run towards that direction. This was the most important part of the test. Also we discovered some “problems”. If there were two turns close to each other, the user was confused and didn’t know which turn to take. There were user who ran very fast and because we did the panning effect manually it was complicated to make the panning effect on time.
We created a video as our concept presentation at the end of the four weeks in the Effenaar. We made this because it gives the user a quick and good explanation of what our product has to offer for them. We tried to show what the problem was that we wanted to solve (the routine) and what solution we offer to fix that problem.
We created a questionnaire that consisted of four questions and the posted it into a Facebook group of active outdoor runners. We got around 160 responses on this questionnaire.
We focussed on two main things for this questionnaire.
1. To know if runners prefer or do not prefer to use the same route when they go for a run.
2. To verify the reasons why some runners, enjoy the same route and others prefer the diversity.
86 of runners prefer to go for a run on the route that they are familiar with. Because of…
- Ability to check your progress and compare your performances because you know the exact distance and time the route will take.
- Safety: Runners prefer to use the familiar route because they know what to expect.
- Easy: You don’t have to spend time on coming up with a new route.
26 of runners prefer to explore new areas by running different routes. Because of…
- Variety: Runners love to explore and see new views.
- Runners get bored with running the same route because with time it stops being challenging enough.
- Change of surface: Runners like to vary flat with hilly roads.
Before the one-to-one interview we wanted to let five active runners from Eindhoven experience the random route function from our concept. They would be given three different rounds for three days so they could run these routes. The interview would have taken place after the three days of random route test. Unfortunately, because of the poor time management, only one interview was conducted.
Main focus: To find out what would be the active runners reaction (opinion) on being navigated by someone else.
Outcomes: The routes were generated manually in Google maps. The participant got a little confused with the route because she had to listen for navigations through Google maps and she got them wrong, therefore she had to slow down to check her phone to see where she was and only then continue the run.
Main conclusion: To improve the user test instead of asking the participant to use Google Maps voice navigation, it would be more efficient to go for a run together with the participant (for example the tester rides a bike behind the runner) and give the directions to the participant through wireless headphones.
During my other project in Copenhagen, my group members conducted an interview with an expert expert Andrew Stateham, a CEO of ATO-GEAR company that helps people improve the way they move, by making the science of movement accessible. ATO-GEAR is the creator of ARION, a unique running wearable that helps you transform your running technique, to improve your performance and reduce your injury risk.
To know expert’s opinion on generating new routes each time a runner goes for a run so he or she has some variety in their routes?
The acid test would be whether the application can make the run more interesting. Just sending a runner on a random route through very bad areas of the city is not a solution. Runners usually ask their community where to run. It would be great if the assistant (mobile app) can do that: help finding interesting and attractive routes than rather just necessary random routes.
What motivates runners to run
- Loosing certain amount of weight
- Increasing the distance of the run
- Reducing the amount of the time needed for the certain distance
- Stress relief: runners that want to go in nature, get some fresh air, running gives them space to de-stress. This is one of the most common runner’s motivation to run
The biggest thing to work with is to make sure that our routes are going somewhere interesting and useful and runnable. Make the algorithm bias towards more cross-country off-road tracks because most runners want to see the nature features while they run. It would be a very good addition to have a parameter that will allow the runner to choose the type of the run. For example I want park running, cross-country running, sea running.
The value proposition canvas
We already had a solid concept so the canvas was to generate some new insights and to get inspired again.
How might we…
User test prototype
For our final user test, we have created a test plan that includes small tasks that we asked the participants to execute. Because of the lack of the time my team decided to ask students from the University to test our prototype, although, fortunately some of the users turned out to be from our target group – the active runners.
The student can apply a Human Centered Design process for interactive products or services
In each iteration, create prototypes of interactive products or services in increasing levels of fidelity
In different parts of the project we made prototypes and tested them. We made prototypes with low fidelity and some with high fidelity. The prototype in the Effenaar was low fidelity but it was really usefull though. We could answer the our research question with it and we could go on with the project and some new insights.
We tried to test our prototypes as much as we could. It was a challenge to find people that could test. But testing with our target group was very usefull. They let us look into their running routines and gave us some good insights on how to improve their run.
Within this project we really listened to our target group. Our goal was to improve their run and that was what we focussed on. In every iteration we asked our target group about our prototype and concept to keep improving. The end result was that most people of our target group wants to use our app!