User experience & user interface design for low-fidelity prototype of solution to motivate walking for a group experience.
Design Process: For this project, my team and I were given the task to “motivate people to walk” by the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Student Competition. To explore the problem, we started with research to understand why people do and don’t walk to identify potential problem spaces. After organizing a focus group to discuss walking in general with a group of people ranging in demographics, we created a survey based partly on their insights. Additionally, we conducted informal interviews with current walkers and non-walkers, and looked at literature on walking and motivation, as well as current solutions for motivating people to walk. We uncovered ten problem spaces and sketched solutions, including everything from safety issues to weather concerns. Ultimately, we settled on a core design problem: Walking is boring to a lot of people. We came up with a hypothesis that designing for an entertaining and engaging solution could provide the most motivation for walking. Further, we chose to target the solution to families for two reasons: early habit-reinforcement coupled with the reward of parent/child experiences.
Our solution was a portable interactive device that would have pre-made stories based on local neighborhoods or parks. We created a prototype to test the design, focusing on the user’s engagement and understanding. Lastly, we created an animated prototype to illustrate the interactive experience of the final design. We felt that visual interactivity would be rewarding for children and parents alike.
Rationale: From our focus group and interview results, we found it interesting that while most people did not choose to walk for social reasons, they cited spending time with family and friends as the most important social outlet in their lives. We noticed that most people only see walking as a transportation method (the highest reason chosen FOR walking). We also discovered that people generally don’t consider it “fun” to walk. Since people enjoy spending time with friends and family, we decided the core of our concept should make walking enjoyable, while encouraging interactions with friends or family.
We developed a list of user requirements & design intentions:
« User must walk to accomplish the goal (walking is the goal of the device)
« Parental role needed (we want to facilitate a family experience)
« Most enjoyment occurs on the walk, not before (we want people to enjoy the act of walking)
« Limited interaction with device while walking (we want people to focus on environment and family, not the device)
« Enhance environment through story (we want the story to spark imagination while in the environment)
« Allow for child’s imagination/creativity (children should have options)
« Story must involve family members & their names (this gives the family a “stake” in the story and feel more connected)
« Device needed to be lightweight and durable (for easy transportation and child-proofing)
Technical requirements were:
« GPS embedded
« Touch-screen LCD
« Hand-held device
Prototype for Evaluation: The prototype took the form of a book, in keeping with the storytelling metaphor. We narrowed down our prototype to two key interactions that we felt were central to the device’s core. The first was the ability to choose every family member as part of the story. This makes the whole family vested in the story’s events, thereby creating an interactive experience. The second key feature was the story’s events should occur while walking from Point A to Point B. We also felt the device should only become interactive at “hot spots” (i.e Point A, B, etc.) to encourage the family to focus on the surrounding environment as much (or less than) the device itself. Overall, our solution was a three part interaction approach: an alert at Point A, notifying the user they needed to look at the device; an interaction to find/create point B; and information embedded in a story for how to get to the next point. The rest of the walk would continue the Point A to Point B pattern.