13 March 2007

Qualitative research leads to new bicycle “for fun”

Be the first to share

Coasting
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
27 November 2016
Genevieve Bell: ‘Humanity’s greatest fear is about being irrelevant’
Intel anthropologist Genevieve Bell explains in an interview with The Observer's Ian Tucker why being scared about AI has more to do with our fear of each other than killer robots. A lot of the …
19 November 2016
A conversation with Dan Ariely about what shapes our motivations
A professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, Dan Ariely relentlessly examines our assumptions about ourselves—and finds they’re often totally misconstrued. We think, for example, that money is our main motivator in the …
17 November 2016
[Book] Collaborative Ethnography in Business Environments
Collaborative Ethnography in Business Environments Edited by Maryann McCabe Routledge 2017, 138 pages In a global and rapidly changing commercial environment, businesses increasingly use collaborative ethnographic research to understand what motivates their employees and what their customers value. In …
15 November 2016
[Book] Sensemaking
Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm by Christian Madsbjerg Hachette Books March 2017, 256 pages Inspired by his work with companies like Ford and Coca-Cola, Madsbjerg's Sensemaking is a provocative stand against the …
14 November 2016
Billions spent on cyber security tech while human error ignored
Billions spent on cyber security tech while human error ignored, writes Misha Glenny in the Financial Times. Armies of zombie computers threaten us all. Despite the headlines, the cyber security industry has prioritised the development of …
12 November 2016
The time of user empathy
Forbes Product Member, Alec Pomnichowski, describes the parallels between architecture and product development thinking. He asks product-types to be considerate and thoughtful about the ways in which users experience products and find value in them …
11 November 2016
The cognitive psychologist’s view of UX design
Psychologist and cognitive scientist Dr. Susan Weinschenk explains how her science informs UX design. Weinschenk takes research and knowledge about the brain, the visual system, memory, and motivation and extrapolates ten UX design principles from …
8 November 2016
[Book] Anthropologies and Futures
Anthropologies and Futures: Researching Emerging and Uncertain Worlds Editor(s): Juan Francisco Salazar, Sarah Pink, Andrew Irving, Johannes Sjöberg Bloomsbury Academic May 2017, 288 pages Anthropology has a critical, practical role to play in contemporary debates about futures. This game-changing …

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.

1 December 2016
More on upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Last month Putting People First announced the upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities in Nice France. Meanwhile we are pleased to announce the full event agenda (see below). This event will feature professionals from leading research institutes and industry gathering to present key initiatives which combine Energy Efficiency and Service Design […]

29 October 2016
Upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Invitation to the International Conference on Design & Sustainable Innovation for SmartCities Nice (France) 8 December 2016 On the 8th December 2016, the CITYOPT project will host an international conference on Design and sustainable innovation for SmartCities, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, France. An open invitation to attend is offered to people and organisations who […]

28 October 2016
Experientia’s President, Michele Visciòla, panel judge for MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition

The 100&Change is an international competition and a landmark opportunity for thinkers and designers to tackle critical challenges affecting the world. Michele Visciòla will be one of the panel of expert judges who will select which project is worthy of the $100 million grant. 100&Change is the MacArthur Foundation competition – launched this year for […]

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

See all articles