As you may have seen, we’ve been experimenting with Reardar, a radar for cyclists. Whenever we’d discuss how Reardar would alert the cyclist to an approaching vehicle, the conversation would get hung up on the best means to provide that alert…or, for that matter, the best way to provide ANY information to a cyclist on the move. To find the answer, we decided to “Stop Meeting. Start Making.”, built some quick prototypes, and conducted some quick field testing to find the answer.
After collecting all our ideas, we took those that were realistic or interesting and moved on to prototyping. We knew that testing needed to include riding a bike in city traffic. Anyone who has missed a call while riding their bike can understand why. We also knew that setting up a proper test in actual traffic using all the mechanisms we were interested in with all of the different notifications needed would be impossible. Especially with a short schedule and a minuscule budget.
Our solution was to test the mechanisms against each other on the street outside of our downtown Seattle office using “dumb notifications” (not triggered by anything and not conveying real information). This would allow for simple, cheap test prototypes that would be used to down-select which were worth pursuing. To that end, we built simple prototypes to test the three groups we saw our ideas falling into: Audible, Haptic, and Visual.