13 March 2007

Qualitative research leads to new bicycle “for fun”

Be the first to share

When Japanese bike part manufacturer Shimano set out to make a bicycle aimed at America’s dwindling group of casual bikers, they enlisted the help of design consultancy IDEO, and embarked on a qualitative research and design process that eventually lead to the “Coasting” bicycle (see also this Core77 post).

The background to their research was the realisation, revealed by a Bicycling Magazine survey, that the number of casual bikers had dropped nearly 50% in the last decade, whereas the number of cycling “enthusiasts” has nearly tripled in the same time. That means that there were more than 160 million Americans currently not riding bikes—an enormous potential market.

As reported by United’s Hemispheres magazine, IDEO sent a team of “industrial anthropologists” to 50 homes to get an in-depth look at how people spend their leisure time.

Shimano execs and even some bicycling nerds within IDEO assumed the primary reason people didn’t want to ride would be “heaviness” and “laziness.” Turns out they were dead wrong.

What they learned was that everyone loved their memories of bicycling as a kid. It was for them a “memory of a simple pleasure, an elemental enjoyment”.

In other words, says the Hempisheres article, “people just wanted to putter around rather than become fitness freaks.”

Unfortunately, that idea of puttering was being lost at the typical bicycle store, where potential customers looking for a pleasant way to spend a Saturday were encountering Spandex-clad bike geeks expounding about technology and performance.

IDEO and Shimano saw two challenges: First, create a new bicycle designed with the casual cyclist in mind—simple, comfortable, affordable and designed primarily for fun, not fitness. And second, they had to redesign the retail experience.

So first they designed a prototype with the casual cyclist in mind—simple, comfortable, affordable and designed primarily for fun, not fitness—and encouraged the big bike manufacturers like Raleigh, Giant and Trek to tailor it to their own company style.

Then they expanded the experience to the bike shop—by making dealers more sympathetic to, or at least aware of, the needs of noncyclists through online training and DVDs—and to people’s bicycling activities: the web site www.coasting.com serves as a bulletin board for the new hobbyists, with information about routes and rides in 15 cities around the U.S.

Read full story

(via Acres & Acres)

Be the first to share
10 November 2015
Why service design is luxury’s new battleground
Ana Andjelic writes in AdAge that most legacy luxury brands are failing at delivering service, especially online: The fact that most legacy luxury brands fail to successfully create and deliver service is unfortunate. The business of …
10 November 2015
For years, Apple followed user-centered design principles. Then something went wrong.
Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini are taking their gloves off and accuse Apple of abandoning the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, proper mapping, appropriate use of constraints, and, of course, the power to …
5 November 2015
Customer journey mapping is at the heart of digital transformation
Digital technologies such as analytics, mobility, social networks, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are making old ways of working redundant and forcing companies to transform. According to Raman Sapra, global head of Dell’s …
5 November 2015
[Conference] Design & The City, Amsterdam, April 2016
Design & The City explores citizen-centered design approaches for the smart city. Central theme is the role of design(ers) to create opportunities and practices for citizens, (social) entrepreneurs and policy makers towards more liveable, sustainable and …
3 November 2015
Another book entitled “The Quantified Self”
The Quantified Self By Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus MIT Press, 264 pp. April 2016 Oops, that is confusing: two books by sociologists on the quantified self movement, both entitled "The Quantified Self" and both appearing in April 2016. …
1 November 2015
User-centred design of the bridge of sea ships
The Rolls-Royce Unified Bridge Design has won this year’s Ergonomics Design Award, presented by the UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors. The award recognises industrial design which puts the customer at the heart …
30 October 2015
[Book] Digital Ethnography
Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice By Sarah Pink, Heather Horst, John Postill, Larissa Hjorth, Tania Lewis and Jo Tacchi (RMIT University) SAGE Publications October 2015, 216 pages Abstract This sharp, innovative book champions the rising significance of ethnographic research on …
29 October 2015
An ethnography of tax-avoidance experts
Sociologist Brooke Harrington realized that if she were ever going to understand global inequality she would have to become one of the people who helps create it. So she trained to become a wealth manager …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
See all articles