Under Construction, v.2

Oh yes, our SPOKED site is seriously good-looking right now! We’re spoked and proud that we have a working thing. We owe all database and javascript magic to Yang Yang. We’re also super happy that a few of our classmates jumped in to donate data to us. It’s very valuable to have more rides than just mine and Carrie’s when figuring out how to visualize and animate the rides. Thank you to Allison, Guri and Tina for tracking rides and sending them into a black hole. Hopefully our developing cocoon will very soon become a colorful butterfly for all to see :)

We’ve developed different views when looking at the map. You can go to a certain profile, or you can see one person’s rides versus someone else’s, like above. Yes, Carrie is beating me. Arrgh.

We’re using the most amazing organization and collaboration tool, Trello. Totally addictive. So very satisfying to move the cards from To do to Doing to Done. And I think it’s even moving us forward in our process. So that’s good.

One would think that when we’re that deep into code, there’s no turning back. But there is. Sometimes, when new features add complexity, we need to use paper and yarn to make sense of it all. Does it make sense now? We hope so. Cause we’re launching a prototype test very, very soon.

Under Construction, v.1

Our project is coming along! We are currently coding up the front-end using HTML, CSS, and Processing at paintyourcity.com/spoked. The rides you see on there are our recent rides drawn in Processing. Carrie is pink, I’m yellow. We’re battling with colors. Yeah! However, these rides are currently pulled from a static files.

Our awesome developer buddy Yang Yang has written some scripts and done other developer magic to pull all our rides from an email account into a database. Above you can peek into our data. Below you can see the first attempt to visualize our data directly from the database:

And finally, we have a splash page up at http://iamspoked.com. The model has such a beautiful bike. But shame on that girl for riding on the sidewalk!

Tracking Instructions MotionX

If you want to contribute your rides to our SPOKED platform, please get MotionX for the iPhone. We chose this because it is the easiest app for sharing your rides with us on SPOKED right now. Below follows instructions for setting up MotionX, and how to track your rides.

SHARING SETTINGS: Menu > Setup > Share

1. Scroll down to Email share.

2. Set Email Share switch to ON.

3. Write your Display name: Firstname Lastname

4. Send to: yes@iamspoked.com

5. To keep track of whether or not you have shared all rides, you could add your own email address too in another field.

6. Set One-Click share to ON. Then you can easily hit the Share button after you biked, and your data will be sent to SPOKED immediately.

TRACK RIDES: Menu > Record track

1. Hit Reset track if you have previously tracked a ride, to make sure you start at 00:00:00.

2. Hit Start track. This typically needs to happen when you’re outside so the phone has GPS signal – when globe is blue & green.


3. Pause track when you’re at your destination.

4. Save track

5. Share track. With the click of one button the ride will be shared with SPOKED and your own email account if you provided that in the setup.


Please try to share your rides immediately after you stop tracking. But if you forget, you can share a track from Menu > Tracks, or Menu > Share:

VOICE COACHING: Menu > Setup > Voice Coaching

Depending on how often you want this sexy woman to update you on your pace etc, change settings here. The 3,2,1 countdown is kinda entertaining, so leave it on if you want to feel like a rocket ready to launch every time you jump on your bike!

Tracking Instructions Google My Tracks

You don’t need to pre-set anything for My Tracks. Just be sure to send from the right email address, once you start sending rides. Also, there are a few steps to go through to send the ride data to us. See below.

Press Menu “Record track”

Press Menu “Stop recording”

1. Press the … button
2. (Under This track) Select “Share with friends…”
3. (Under Share with friends) Select “A GPX file”
Google will tell you this will take a while
4. (Under Share track using:) Select Mail
Be sure to send the email from the email address you gave SPOKED when you signed up. If it’s not the same, press “From: ” and select the correct account to send from.
5. Send email to: yes@iamspoked.com
You don’t need to change anything in the subject or body, just press “Send”.
That’s it. Easy Peasy!

Behavior Change and Motivation

Changes are hard to make. Whether it’s changing your diet or turning your transit mode from the subway to biking, we as humans we need other people to hold us accountable and help us adjust to new habits. That’s why behavior change comes best through the support of community. On the last jaunt with strangers that ride bikes, Tour de Taco, this is something that I learned, again. While each biker was on the group ride for various reasons, some were there to get back into biking. I talked with two specific bikers that previously pedaled to work, but had stopped, for their own respectable reasons. They both confessed, in their own words, that they came to get their butts on their bikes again. Basically, they forced themselves to be surrounded by a lot of people doing the very thing they wanted to be doing.

We previously launched the King of Two Wheels. We’re challenging four contestants within a community of 30 SVA IxD grad students to bike more than usual for one week, track their miles on a shared map, discover new parts of the city and to recruit others to join them. The King of Two Wheels will be our first experiment with learning how people are motivated to ride. Through it, we hope to get people talking about and doing more biking, while gaining insights into their habits, tips and tricks, and motivations.

We put out eight challenges within the week of the contest. Along with these, we had multiple strategies to get them motivated and biking more:

Map rides on a shared map to document progress and compare achievements.

Prompt riders to recruit friends to get the community involved organically.

Invite riders to get a team mate for the day.

Invite the community to bet on their chosen contestant to win

…and using the bets as a visual bar chart display in a common area.

Honor a challenge winner every day.

King of Two Wheels Launch

To test our ideas about motivation, and to get some insights into different bike personas, we’ve decided to launch a game in our studio. Four contestants, a map over New York City, and 500 feet of yarn are some of the ingredients required to (hopefully) make this work. Here’s an early prototype:

The contest is mainly a race to make people bike more during a week. But in addition to measuring how much you bike through pinning yarn on the map, there will be different challenges. These challenges are crafted to touch upon some of the themes we’ve been researching lately; Way-finding, Tracking, Discovery, Group rides, Safety, etc. And to make sure we capture our contestants thoughts, joys and worries when it comes to biking in the city, we’ll make them pour their heart out in the video confession booth. As this also is an experiment in designing for public interfaces, we’ve tried to design the booth as a “walk-up-interface” so that you don’t need people guiding you through the process. Cartoonish drawings of people are hopefully enough to make our contestants talk:

We’re also thinking of different ways to involve the rest of our classmates. Our hypothesis is that a big part of motivation for many is the social pressure – which is why sharing the love for biking will be valued even more than just riding long distances solo.

It’s hard to plan a game like this. We’ve made a program for the whole week, but we need to plan for potential adjustments throughout based on how things evolve after the launch. If all goes well with our last preparations, the game starts Tuesday morning. We’re very excited that our bike princes and princesses have accepted the challenge – to fight to become the King of Two Wheels:

Guri, Cooper, Tash and Dave – GOOOOOOD LUCK!

Low-fi prototyping, part II

After our last prototyping test suffered from bad sound quality from phone to phone, I figured it would be good to test audio coming from my own phone. I made a text file with directions to read. Then I let this charming British man in the app SpeakIt! read it out loud. Here’s the Speak it! audio file.

The file is one long file with text-to-speech directions read on this format:

1. Head southeast on 5th Street toward 8th Ave.
Ride about 282 feet.
Then turn left onto 8th Ave

2. Turn left onto 8th Ave
Ride about 0.1 miles.
Then turn left onto 2nd Street

3. Turn left onto 2nd Street
Ride about 0.4 miles.
Then turn right onto 5th Ave

4. Turn right onto 5th Ave
Ride about 0.6 miles.
Then turn left onto Bergen Street

5. Turn left onto Bergen Street
Ride about 0.5 miles.
Then turn right onto Bond Street

6. Turn right onto Bond Street
Ride about 253 feet.
Destination will be on the left
Address: 190 Dean Street

I tested it with Apple headphones (one plug in) and iPhone, using the remote on the headphones to pause after each bulk of directions. Of course I needed to know when to press play again myself, rather than getting it triggered by GPS knowing where I am. But other than that – VERY successful as the voice was loud and clear. Would definitely add info about which streets have bike path/lane to the instructions, though. I forgot about it when making the audio file.

Low-fi prototyping, part I

When considering doing a thesis together, it is very important to make sure that the thesis area we consider to commit to, is in fact an area that is thesis worthy. We both need to believe in the project, and we have to want to live with it for a long time. That is why we wanted to do a simple test of the concept of a bike companion giving in-ride directions out in the real world.

We prepared directions for each other, and planned to bike behind each other, giving directions at the appropriate time through a phone call. Equipment used:

  • Android phone with bluetooth headset
  • iPhone with apple ear buds

Bad sound quality was a big issue, and made it particularly hard to hear street names (which is the most important thing we figured). A phone call while biking gave us way too much wind noise and other interferences. Audio quality is KEY. We were talking about whether using bluetooth headphones rather than wired headphones would potentially not give us good enough audio. Need to check that.

We agreed on a good format for giving instructions. When next turn on 8th ave is approaching:

Turn left onto 8th avenue.
Ride about 0.1 miles.
Then turn left onto 2nd street.

When next turn on 2nd street is approaching:

Turn left onto 2nd street.
Ride about X miles.
Then turn right onto 5th avenue.

But adding whether there’s a bike lane/path would also be helpful, and maybe also on which side of the street the lane is on. In addition, we should consider ways to talk back or give other kind of feedback to the helmet. We might want to make it:

  • Repeat
  • Shut up

Other types of encouragement along the way were also discussed, and how to humanize the voice and the content. Important to figure out how to make the biking experience desirable/delightful. I.e. what happens when on a bridge etc.

These notes were taken on Cafe Martin in Park Slope after the bike ride. Then we rode our bikes to Brighton Beach, and discussed the possibility of thesis collaboration in the sunset.