“We want to create a meaningful service that would inform bicyclists and help them reach their goals. It would help them appreciate their surroundings and should be a fun service to use.”
We weren't that thrilled about either city bikes of Gazelle or electronic bikes of
Sparta, which UNITiD proposed as target groups. Luckily, UNITiD gave us complete
freedom to choose our own audience. In the end who chose to design a service for
fixed gear riders, as they are very unique and interesting to design for.
At the start, we weren’t very acquainted with single speed bikes and the fixed gear
scene. That’s why we spent the first weeks exploring the world of fixies by
interviewing our target group and checking out our competition.
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In the research phase we discovered some very useful insights about fixed gear
riders. The insights below were the most important, which led to our concept(s).
When our target group isn’t riding, they’re
customizing their bikes. Sadly, there aren’t
that many tools online right now to
support them in doing so.
They see themselves as an underground
community. And although some of them
ride alone, fixie riders often gather in
groups (also called herds).
Photography is the way our target
group communicates. Unlike Facebook,
they use Instagram on daily basis.
We came up with three concepts and all three focused on different needs.
We loved them all, but eventually we had to decide on one. What concept would be the
most challenging, profitable and most connected to the target group?
Fixie riders don’t really know what trips,
races and other events are interesting
for them at the moment. There isn’t even one dedicated platform
to help them out!
The most insane ideas were spat out at
our lil’ brainstorm evening with Fixed
Gear Den Haag. ‘Make us a digital
customizer with part compatibility
check!’ they asked. Their need was
noted and a bit later provided!
So our target group likes photography?
Fixie riders are looking for inspiration for
awesome trips? Connecting these dots
resulted in a route planner focused on
points of interest!
We didn’t need long to pick one of the concepts. The customization tool was not only
profitable, it would also bring some nice design issues which we wanted to solve! And
not incidentally, this is just what our target group needed.
Sketching is the basis for the design of our product. It's a great solution for getting
our minds on the same wavelength. We went through many iterations and
underwent a lot of tinkering before moving on to the next stages.
Wireframes are the blueprints for the design. In this phase we thought of interactions,
placement, flow and logic. It was the phase wherein we had to solve big design
puzzles, which often went hand in hand with heated discussions.
Fix’d is marked by the many iterations that we’ve had. We were looking for the best
solutions by continuously exploring all possible options.
A good example of a solution through iterations
is the beginner flow. By the high entry level for
fixed gear bicycles we found a way to attract
novice cyclists to our platform.
We introduce new users by explaining every
step it takes to create a fixed gear bike. With
videos and visual explanations we make it
as simple as possible.
We focus on compatibility of parts and setting a
ratio for your bike. That way, we preserve the
user from unpleasant surprises, when they're
actually assembling their fixie.
When we started the visual design phase, we really wanted to focus on creating an
original experience for the user, by experimenting with different styles,
color palettes and typography.
Because we really wanted to showcase the extent to which you could customize your
fixie in our tool, we created an entire fixie in photoshop using shapes and layer styles,
with all parth detachable from one another.
We experimented with lots of different combinations, before settling on a dark purple
color scheme with purple and turqoise highlights. This color scheme was inspired by
the most commonly used colors on customized fixies.
For the typography, we chose Montserrat
as our headings font and Proxima Nova
for the body, as those complimented the
color scheme well and were a good fit for
the overall design language.
For the Stories, we chose Vollkorn as the
body type, since serif fonts are better for
readability and the font really fit in with
the rest of the pages.
One of the most important aspects of our product was the ability for users to share
the stories of their fixie adventures with the world in a fun and visual way. In the
design we focused a lot on creating an interesting layout that combines text and
photography in an engaging way.
The development of prototypes was necessary to test with users and to present our product
to the client and the audience. We tried several tools like Muse and even HTML/CSS, but in
the end it seemed Flinto was just the tool we needed to set up a nice flow.
Low fidelity prototypes gave us the chance to take a fresh look at Fix'd and its
user experience. Users helped us put some overlooked design flaws right. In a short
period of time we discovered users had some issues with our menu, filters and
buy-flow for example. We even forgot to add a confirmation button! Oops!
Getting to the point where we were truly satisfied with what we had took a lot of hours,
hard work and plenty of heated discussions, but we’re very proud of what we’ve made.
Take a look at some of our most favorite screens below.
We can conclude that we created a fixie customization tool which has the definite
possibility to grow. Our product gives us a chance to approach more fixie brands, for
example. We have therefore set a good basis that meets the needs of our users.
To make Fix'd work, we need to approach several bike part companies. We have to
become a reseller of as many as possible brands. Therefore, we reached out to the
most favourable manufacturers, to check if they'd like to join Fix'd!
“When this thing rolls out, we are
certainly interested to talk.”
“This sounds like a fun idea. We are
totally behind you on this.”
For me, Fix'd was twenty weeks of fun. I never had to solve that many design issues before and it was awesome! I did not expect to end up where we did after the initial brief. I did expect a nice collaboration between UNITiD and our team, though! I really enjoyed my part. I think I grew not just as a concepter, but as a designer as well thanks to the scope.
You never really have enough time to finalize a project to your complete satisfaction. Our collaboration went well, I felt it was a nice team to work with, although I did feel that I could have contributed more to it sometimes. The technical aspect of prototyping was difficult for me, so instead I opted to run some users tests through paper prototying, after which we obtained a lot of valuable insights.
Firstly, I want to thank everyone who made our project possible. It’s really great to work with such passionate teammates. I never expected that we would come up with a project that is is considered at this level of complexity. I also learned a lot from my teammates and in the field of interaction design. I’m very proud of the final result!
This was a huge and ambitious project, and I felt I had learned something new every day. I worked very closely with Bart, trying to create new and interesting designs. I totally expected the project to go in an entirely diferent direction, but thanks to a lot of feedback and discussions, we managed to create something that's truly and fully ours.