Concept & Branding

tagline (baby)

service offering
copy nuggets (commentary)
- weather
- how you’re doing
- what your friends are doing
- neighborhood facts

weather (right now in New York)

style guide
- buttons
- sliders
- profiles
- callouts

color palette
- background
- text, etc
- color guide for riders

- neighborhoods
- photo share

- data comparisons
- statistics
- over time
- distance
- hood info
- progress over time

global elements
- header
- footer

Brand name: The name of your company or service.

Overview: A short overview of your brand‘s personality. What makes your brand personality unique?

Personality image: This is an actual image of a person that embodies the traits you wish to include in your brand. This makes the personality less abstract. Pick a famous person, or a person with whom your team is familiar. If your brand has a mascot or representative that already embodies the personality, use that instead. Describe the attributes of the mascot that communicate the brand’s personality.
–curious, charming, practical, quirky, playfully competitive, approachable, unassuming, classic, simple, intriguing, in touch with the city as a local with facts, witty, chill, driven, respectful, Bill Cunningham, Stephen Fry, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bordain (Eataly), daring, Gorilla coffee, sophisticated.
Not: Intense, bossy, show-offy, insistent, two moon.

Brand traits: List five to seven traits that best describe your brand along with a trait that you want to avoid. This helps those designing and writing for this design persona to create a consistent personality while avoiding the traits that would take your brand in the wrong direction.

Personality map: We can map personalities on an X / Y axis. The X axis represents the degree to which the personality is unfriendly or friendly; the Y axis shows the degree of submissiveness or dominance.

Voice: If your brand could talk, how would it speak? What would it say? Would it speak with a folksy vernacular or a refined, erudite clip? Describe the specific aspects of your brand’s voice and how it might change in various communication situations. People change their language and tone to fit the situation, and so should your brand’s voice.

Copy examples: Provide examples of copy that might be used in different situations in your interface. This helps writers understand how your design persona should communicate.

Visual lexicon: If you are a designer creating this document for yourself and/or a design team, you can create a visual lexicon in your design persona that includes an overview of the colors, typography, and visual style that conveys your brand‘s personality. You can be general about these concepts, or include a mood board.

Engagement methods: Describe the emotional engagement methods you might use in your interface to support the design persona and create a memorable experience. We‘ll learn more about these in the next chapter.

From Mr. Carlsen

Notes per our conversation with Robert Carlsen
January 27, 2012, Champignon Cafe

Robert does not recommend building on Mobile Logger. But he is willing to give us the API code so that we can use it and have rides automatically uploaded to our own server if we want to use it for prototyping.

For a database, Mobile Logger is using Couch DB
- ride data is sent as JSON object to Couch DB, then transformed into document
- API (written in Ruby) pulls data from Couch DB
- Note: ride data is not associated with a user; you need the phone ID number to associate a user with their data
- Data is visualized in the web browser (using R)

If we used Mobile Logger code, we could use processing.js, but would need to write a script to reformat the data.

Look into Google Fusion Tables instead of a database (gather, visualize and share data online)
- visualize and publish your data as maps, timelines and charts
- host your data tables online
- combine data from multiple people
Google My Tracks publishes to google spreadsheets (only for android)
If we used Fusion Tables, we would need to write code in his existing code to connect Mobile Logger to Fusion Tables.
We can import any data into fusion tables (it seems)

Other tracking options:
- Training Peaks Cycle Tracker
- Golden Cheetah
- Bike Nik
- more…

Inspiration: NIKE Signature Moves posters

Our basic needs for tracking:
- iphone compatibility (necessary)
- android compatibility (preferable)
- export ride data from phone after ride (at least via email, at most to fusion tables or database)

Side Research on Google Fusion Tables:
- test styling of google maps
- how do we import data to fusion tables?
- collaborative sharing vs. private sharing on the same map? etc.
- what are our viz capabilities with google maps? can we use a description like “rain” and filter rides for the viz based on that

From Willy Wong

Notes per our conversations with Willy Wong
January 20, 2012, NYC & Company
January 25, 2012, SVA IxD Studio

Who is the right group?

Broad appeal: who will use it right away?
What do you get out of using it—when you first start playing vs. over time?
What happens at the plateau? When users get bored?
On point of boredom: what are the users relationship to other people; community and interaction keeps people engaged; it’s more about the community/interaction than the solo service you’re providing
Think about the look of the page on day 1, vs. day 2, vs. day 4, vs. a week later, vs. a month later

Theory of fun
Look at what other systems are doing to incentivize people (ex: coffee, airlines)

Size of audience: what % of bikers are interested in using it
Bike share would guarantee new users; wouldn’t be sustaining users over a long period of time

Map a landscape of visual language of related services and biking (trek vs. linus; sports in relation to biking; foursquare, gowalla, etc.)
Decide where you fit in the spectrum of visual language
Think about:
- color vs. industry type
- typography: griddy urban vs. athletic, etc.
- info design

Build mood boards to rationalize why it makes sense for your brand
status in types of bikes: lifestyle palette, taste
status in going places

How do we make people say, “I can’t live without this!”
How does the service cause people to overlook the barriers?
What are you selling?
What is the myth of the platform?

We need a fun aspect in the manifesto!
How could I convince you to start roller-blading for transportation? Or the ferry? Or a moped?
- Think about how you would convince someone to take different alternative modes of transportation.
Notes: it’s less hassle than you think, it will make your life easier, you will get fresh air, it will make your life better, the chair will stop killing you, it’s easy to own a bike and take care of it and park it, it’s comfortable, you will feel free, like you’re flying

Check out NYC bike month campaigns

Statistics, what is our correlation between behavior and information?
Does awareness of information compel someone to take action?

How does an old piece of technology survive in a world full of new technology?

Tweet when you get on your bike
If we need someone to check the app every morning to see who’s riding
If a biker has to check the app every morning to see who’s riding, then give them a reason to check.
Note: giving clever weather reports are a good reason

We need the right media to deliver the message
Maybe it’s a clock that spins faster when more people are riding
What is more buzzworthy?

What do we need to develop to compel people to bike more?
Ex: Lotion, “if you try this, you will like it so much, you will buy it again”

How many people own a bike?
How many people use a bike?

For clients of a service, consider: acquisition, retaining, servicing.
Typical marketing question: How do you acquire them, retain them and service them?

Maybe the majority of our users only use the service once or twice? They participate in 2-week challenges as a way to get motivated to ride. A common analogue is Weight Watchers. It’s a program with a triggger for action and a prize at the end. We may still have super data and designer nerds that want to keep using the service as a record-keeping or journal tool.
Imagine the use cases.
Size up the market.
- how many people are riding in NYC (from DOT)
- talk to bike shops to see about how many customers they serve

Separate the movement and scaling audience from having a product that allows for scaling; it costs money to run the business (per user)

Think of analogues for our key concepts. What happens if they have a baby? What does that give you? How can we use things that are familiar to our Grandma to explain what we are doing?

From Amit

Notes per our conversation with Amit Pitaru
January 23, 2012, Kitchen Table Studio

Which route do we take: OPEN Own your data vs. CLOSED We sell your data to large companies for marketing

See HackerNews for startup models
37 Signals—builds things people want, then charge money for them
this doesn’t happen in a lot of cases anymore

Two different movements of open source: good (use for good) vs. evil (sell to companies)
Decide your world view on data

Own your own photo data: and
“If you’re not paying for something, then you’re the product being sold.”

One option: Have an open API for developers then offer our own premium service.
Example: and
With this open API:
- devs can use their own data for their own apps
- people can give their friends access to their data
Do this kind of open thing, but have a service too; it’s important for us to have a service

Open it up, let people see what they can do.
- landing page
- sign-up page
- state intentions
- the specific services
- 1st code repository (on github)
- build a device to track data recorded (phone)
- API can fish out data
- allows you to get your data
- and you’re friends data (with their permission) on top of it
- every person has an account, that’s how they access their data
We would have user accounts with system on top that allows you to get your data and friends data on top of it.
Data for good: Convince people to give their data to us for bike advocacy

1. Get investment
- seed money
- investors
2. Kickstarter
- landing page, shows how well thought out the idea is
- need money
- interested in tech co-founder
3. Hack day
- open source project landing page, call to action
- mock-ups
- invite devs to hack together, treat them well with coffee and cupcakes
- start gathering data
- get DOT or bike shops to sponsor

RESOURCES—see how well apps have been doing

3 Approaches to Embrace

MAKE YOU OWN TOOLS Hybridize your tools in order to child unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amply our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

MAKE NEW WORDS Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

MAKE MISTAKES FASTER & LAUGH Laughing means you’re having fun and also shows that you are comfortable expressing yourself.

A character study

We were asked to make up a character that could be in the target audience for our product. Meet Rijke De Vries Foreman:

-What is this person’s name:
Rijke De Vries Foreman – a 32 year old woman working in the Department of Finance in NYC as the Head of the Parking Violations Hearing Officers. She dealt with parking rules and violations herself before, but now she mostly deals with her employees. A passionate Amsterdam cyclist is suddenly trying to bring in cash for the city that never sleeps through adjudicating parking violations. Marrying the British diplomat, Eric Foreman, was what brought her to the city. But this particular job? Some coincidences led her into the field when she first moved to the city. Her work ethics, and her straightforward communication moved her some steps up the ladder. Her colleagues are nice, and her office is OK. She doesn’t love the job, but it allows her to jump on her bike and leave at a decent hour every day.

-What is a secret about this person that everyone knows?
When there are meetings in the office with outside guests involved, the cookie box is on the table. Rijke doesn’t ever buy candy or cookies herself. She has a hard time controlling the intake if the goods are right there in front of her, though. When excited about a subject she might talk fast and high-pitched while the chocolate chip cookie crumbs jump out of her mouth. Though her employees might find it amusing, and cute even, visitors might not, so they deliberately try to keep the box of cookies at a safe distance from her chair in the conference room.

Being cute is not a quality Rijke appreciates in herself or others. She wants to be respected by her employees and her boss because she knows how to practise law. And although she gets overly excited when the chocolate chip cookies are on the table, she is definitely respected.

-What color socks is she wearing?
Rijke has a drawer full of pantyhose, thin or thick, wool or nylon, and in various, neutral colors. No funky patterns as she feels those would give her legs a bit too much attention. Attention they don’t deserve. She’s certainly not overweight, but her thighs and calves are on the larger side. Her pantyhosed legs are typically placed in somewhat high-heeled black shoes that she keeps in her office. Comfortable shoes, though high enough so that she looks professional and gains some height. Those extra centimeters – she feels that it makes people respect her more. In reality it gives her that little confidence boost that makes her expect respect from her surroundings. Her expectations are met by most, although she’s not the kind of person that wins a room instantly. She’s grateful that her workplace appreciates hard workers. However, sometimes she wishes that there could be a little more excitement and fun in the office. She’s surrounded by serious people, and obviously, as she is most of these people’s boss, she might have something to do with that.

-What is her most prized possession?
Rijke loves her bike. When her Mom for some reason wanted to upgrade to a newer and lighter bike, she left the wonderfully heavy, black beauty for Rijke. Rijke used it, rain or shine, for 5 years while studying in Amsterdam, and she simply could not leave it behind when she moved to America.

-What’s her biggest regret?
Rijke always looks forward. She doesn’t regret her choices in life, but the hardest decision she ever had to make, was when she turned down the PhD position offered at the University of Amsterdam, to move to NYC with Eric instead. She would get to research rehabilitation and behavior change for tough criminals. There’s a big difference between that kind of behavior change, and the silly parking violations she deals with now. Most drivers get tickets because the rules are too confusing, or because there’s simply not enough parking spaces available for all those cars. But if all New Yorkers just sold their cars and started biking, the problem would be solved!

What if your city felt smaller and your experience of it felt bigger?

In my thesis workgroup, I’ve been exploring the who, what, when, where, who by and why of the idea. This question is a part of the why. There are so many intangible benefits to biking, which is why Kristin and I want to share these joys with other people. Our main initiative is not environmentally or health focused, even though these are also key benefits for biking. Our initiative is for better lifestyles.

Rough Concept Map

This is a first shot at mapping our concept as it stands now. Gaming, tracking and pinning are the primary features. Tracking and pinning happen consistently, while games take place periodically. A mobile app, website, bike helmet and game system make up the service.

Human Superpowers and Talking Helmets

This here essay is very meta—about why Carrie and I are blogging, our thesis, and the interaction design disciplin. It is part of our efforts to try to win this amazing blogging scholarship. We deserve it, right?!

Yes, I am a biker. This summer I realized that I should get comfortable with this title. Even though you will never catch me wearing neon spandex, I am perfectly apt to use my two wheels and human superpowers to get where I want, when I want. My bike allows me to be outdoors, and it helps me stitch together the huge and diverse city in which I live, New York. Biking makes me feel empowered and free, as well as a part of something bigger—an important movement toward a better quality of life and a healthy city environment.

As classmates at the School of Visual Arts’ Interaction Design program, Carrie and I both know the secret to how to get in touch with your superpowers. We bike together to and from our studio in Manhattan every day. On one of these rides we realized that it is time we spread the joy of biking. Our thesis year would be our opportunity.

When you have seen the light, how do you make other people see it too? How do you help people change their behavior? We have had numerous questions and ideas. And though it’s hard to let people in on our messy thoughts, we do it through our collaborative blog. As thesis partners, Carrie and I realized early on that we had to overcome our perfectionist tendencies and dare to share our thoughts before they were completely thought through. Admittedly, our thoughts have been crazy, stupid, clever, naive, optimistic and everything in between. We need to document them all.

The blog format can be scary. As soon as you hit ‘publish’, your brain dump is there for the world to see. However, that trait pushes us to structure our thoughts in ways that are not only legible the moment we have an idea, but also comprehensible when we look back to ideas we had months ago. As our process so far has already shown us, the far-out concepts might very well be the ones to pursue!

We’re now deep in the process of figuring out how to create a smart and charming bike helmet to be used by bikers in urban environments. This helmet will likely become a talking helmet that knows what you’re up to, reflects upon it, and gives you directions, motivation, and tips about routes to ride and places to visit. To develop this idea we are researching aspects around wayfinding, motivation, tracking and discovery of a city from a bike seat. Our blog has become integral to keeping track of this research and moving forward in our pursuit of the core features that will make up the ultimate digital bike companion.

The blog enables us to talk to each other, as well as classmates, teachers and the bike community. Bike activists, local politicians, creatives and developers all have valuable insights that can shape the product we are making. However, considering the nature of our idea, we are also interested in those that are not yet convinced that biking is a viable form of transportation. For the moment, we hope that our enthusiasm for riding shines through the blog and may inspire others to ride. In the future, we hope that our talking helmet will help even more people make the leap from being a leisurely bike rider to a confident commuter.

We do love biking, but we also love design! We hope that the openness around our thesis will give people insight in to our creative design process, and show how we, as interaction designers, develop a product that is both digital and physical. Design is not only about shapes, fonts and colors. Interaction design can involve strategy, concept development, marketing, user flows, interface design, prototyping, testing, electronics and software. The interaction design discipline is expansive, and we want to share our knowledge and techniques with the curious individuals eager to learn.

With our graduate program being three years young, it feels natural to create awareness around our practice. Our blog pushes us to find words to accompany our process, and in return helps us explain what we do to friends, family and aspiring interaction designers. If through the blog, we can motivate individuals to be mindful of, and even practice interaction design, it would mean a lot to us. We honestly believe that the “wicked problems” of the world, like world hunger, recession and global warming, could use some more design thinking. Even on smaller scale projects, the interaction design role is very rewarding. Yet, most people don’t even know what an interaction designer is!

We both had our “detours” before we found our career calling; Carrie’s background is in architecture, while mine is in information science. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of any interaction design project, our different backgrounds actually become our strengths. We could not take on our chosen thesis endeavor individually. We are dependent on each other’s skill-set, as well as each other’s energy, to move the process forward. Our blog is an important force in this. Even though the blog reveals process detours, half-baked ideas and up-hill battles with incomprehensible technology, we anticipate it telling a good story—a story about a rewarding collaboration, a year deep in thesis, and the journey of making a real, and hopefully working, product for urban bikers.

Feedback Questions

Questions for feedback from the participants of the King of Two Wheels:

1. What about the game (which elements) made you bike more during the challenge?
2. What did you do, in regards to biking, during the game week that surprised you?
3. What did you enjoy about the game? What was delightful?
What did you not enjoy?
4. Which challenge did you enjoy the most?
5. Why did you do the challenges?
6. Which parts of the game got you excited vs. feeling like you just had to do them?
7. On a scale of 1 to 10, how aggressive were you in your efforts to win the game? Why or why not?
8. From your perspective, how aware of the game were your classmates?
9. What was confusing about the game?

1. How did you respond to the invite? (excitement, confusion)
2. What was your perception of what the game was about?
3. What made or didn’t make you feel a part of the game?
4. How clear were the objectives of the game?
5. What did you feel like your role in the game was?
6. Why did or didn’t you place a bet?