Unstoppable is an app exclusively designed for joggers in urban area, which is used to keep them from the unnecessary and frustrated stops caused by the red traffic lights.
How it works?
Mario was annoyed by the stop lights while running, but after eating the “mushroom” of our app, everything changed!
Problem Space......& how we found it
All four of us, we love outdoor exercises. Therefore, we firstly narrowed down our target groups to runners, cyclists, and drivers. And runners became the best choice because one of our teammates was an experienced marathon runner. Through several rounds of brainstorming, we realized that runners who run in urban environments face many challenges.
One of the main problems that runners expressed was a disruption in continuous run particularly when coming to the red light on intersections. Coming to the frequent stop not only does it have negative impact to the runner's momentum and heart rate but also causes aggravation.
During the process, we conducted semi-structured interviews and shared findings by affinity diagram and built our persona; we also conducted task analysis and competitive analysis to understand both about our users and about the market.
Then, we moved on to possible design alternatives
In this phase, we focused on the problem space and brainstormed with each other to come up with as many as possible solutions. Among those candidates, we shifted our focus only on three of them based on our target users' feedback - Unstoppable, Urban Treadmill, and Zombie Run.
The key idea of the first design is that there will be NO red lights during the running procedure of the joggers. This app that would help joggers calculate the distance between them and the traffic lights and then adjust their pace when approaching the red light, through visual and sound cue to catch the green one, while assuring continuous run and heart rate.
As for the Urban Treadmill, a runner realizes that s/he could not get across, then retrieve to this booth (built with a treadmill that requires membership to be turned on) to cope with the interrupted flow, until s/he could move forward (see the green lights).
The last idea is to develop an app/game that controls your pace/rhythm with the sound of a radar or sonar detecting zombies and requires runner to preset the path (the faster you run, the further you get away from zombies, and signal then becomes less frequent).
Each of them has its own pros and cons, and that's the time we decided to do a vote and in-depth comparison.
From users' feedback, we made a matrix with the three alternatives, as well as different dimensions that will influence our decision making: Functionality, Creativity, Context-friendly, and Feasibility. Based on the results, we realized the first idea - Unstoppable (we first named it as "All Green Light", then changed it to "Unstoppable" because it is shorter and more direct) is the most popular one among users, and users are willing to change pace based on the rhythm the app will provide. Therefore, this app will, instead of rerouting joggers, not "make it happen at all". By simply following the rhythm/instruction, users change their paces while avoiding all red lights. To not let our users feel burnt out or uncomfortable, the rhythm will change gradually as the system calculating the distance between the user and the light.
Prototype and Iterations
We all agreed on the same idea; however, how to convey this idea effectively and put it into a complete user interface were hard to settle effective.
Therefore, our team worked together to figure out the user journey and expected emotions. We started from LO-FI prototypes, including paper prototypes (cute, right?), and then transformed into HI-FI version, with evaluation plan and iterations along the process.
Logic of the First Round of Prototype
Evaluation......yes we need it to be effective, efficient, and safe
Evaluation is an important part to test whether our design is effective and really solve the problem we intended to solve. Therefore, during the evaluation period, we conducted both expert heuristics evaluation and user testing for Unstoppable.
For our design, we have two separated parts: the User Interface (UI) of the app, and the audio interaction (without interacting with the interface). Expert evaluation, on one hand, were responsible for testing the UI only. Users, on the other hand, tested both the UI and the audio interaction after the iteration according to the experts feedback.
Because our app is designed for joggers, we would love to invite users who jog on a regular basis to test the effectiveness of our app. However, to let them just run on the street will arise safety concerns, we decided to create a simulation which will satisfy our test purpose while ensuring participants' safety.
The key idea of user testing is to simulate the running process before and after using the app. Therefore, we made up three "manual traffic lights" around three corners of the Tech Green loop. Our team members hold color papers (red and green) to represent the real traffic light changing.
Participants were asked to listen to two versions of audio instruction (drumbeats or melody) of pace rate and choose one that they felt the most comfortable with. We used constant rhythm to represent jogging without our app and used changing rhythm to represent that the user is using our app. Each participant run two loops listening to the different versions of rhythm, and we asked them feedback on their jogging experience, because user satisfaction is the major factor we are interested in.
We modified several different parts in the prototype through the iteration, the most important change is to add the list view and filter to the interface:
Iteration example: We added the "List View" option for users after our heuristic evaluation from experts. From the list view, users will have a ability to sort their routes based on either name, the number of lights, the distance, or the calories consumed. It helps users who are familiar with their regular routes and the app skip the step which requires flipping the maps back and forth.