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Hitch Hiker

For our final project, we are working on how to make short distance carpooling experience better.

Team member: Shia Liang, Punchet Sangnil, David Yang

Hitch Hiker is a mobile phone application which help matches driver who need someone to carpool with passengers who need a ride and are planning to go the same direction. The application is intended to be used spontaneously for both passenger and driver. In other words, there is no need for pre planning for both passenger and driver. Passengers and drivers can use our application to find a ride/someone to carpool at the time they need. The pay would be based on the driving distance and would automatically be calculated by the Hitch Hiker App for ease.
While we were implementing this system, we recognize that it is crucial for any driver who uses our application to be able to quickly identify passenger he supposed to pick up while he is driving.

Checkout our video at: https://vimeo.com/89218839

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Process:

Looking for opportunity
We had a quick brainstorm session to generate several design questions. Ultimately, we decided on “How can we make short-distance carpooling easier & more efficient”. The problem space looked very promising for our final project with one week time constraint.

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In depth discussion
We then discussed among ourselves the design question and map out potential problems in this space. We want to make sure that we have a good problem to tackle before going onto finding solution for this problem. We identify stakeholders: driver who needs someone to carpool and passenger who needs a ride. This initial mapping of the stakeholders allowed us to sketch out flow of interaction between them.

After we flushed out interaction flow of our application, we derived two research questions mentioned in the beginning of this document. We also decided that video prototype and behavioral prototype would be perfect prototyping technique to answer those questions.

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Prototyping

We prepared high fidelity interface mockup as well as storyboard before shooting our video prototype.

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Behavioral Prototype:

We had two of our classmate to participate in our behavioral prototype. Below is our summary from the testing.

User Testing Result Summary:

As we stated earlier in this report, we looked for the best interaction technique for driver to recognize passenger he is suppose to pick up. Furthermore, the method used by passenger should not distract other cars on the road. We had three different types of interaction which we tested with behavioral prototype.

Research Question:
What would be the best interaction technique for driver to recognize passenger he is suppose to pick up?
Interaction methods:
1. Using flashlight on mobile devices to get the driver’s attention.
2. Specific color pattern on passenger’s screen.
3. Arm gesture by the passenger.

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Set up:

We set up the test in a long road with cars parked on the side in university village. David as the tester will show up in any spot between cars on the road side. Tester will only show himself when the user come close enough. Also, there is a camera setup behind the tester to record the tester’s movement.

Untitled-1-01_800pxOn the other side, we ask our users to sit in the car with the other tester, drive along the road, and ask them if they can clearly notice the tester. We tested with each user all three interaction methods. For the sake of saving time, we did not ask our user to stop the car to pick up the tester on the road. Because the main purpose of this test is to compare these three interaction methods, it did not affect the test whether or not the user stop the car.

We also set up a iphone on the dashboard in the front of the car to record the reaction from the user and the conversation inside the car.
Test Result:

After the test, we found that the most effective way to make the driver to notice the passenger is to use body gesture. First of all, flashlight is not strong enough during the day. According to the participant, the flashlight is not the main thing that catch his eye.

“ I thought he’s taking a picture of me.”
“I can’t see it until the last second.”
“It’s hard to see in the day time.”

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Secondly, the color bar on the screen is not visible enough for both participant. The can only see tester holding his cell phone on the road, the content on the screen is no clear for the driver.
“Nothing I can see on the screen of his phone.”
“The fact he was holding his phone is all I can see.”

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Lastly the gesture is the most effective way in communicating the tester’s location. Both participants found the waving gesture very effective, they can easily tell the location of the tester. Also they both understand that the tester is trying to stop them.

“That’s pretty obvious. It is obvious that I should pick him up.”
“It’s like a convention, if someone wants to stop the car, they wave.”

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Interestingly, both of the user mention the waving gesture as convention. People are used to this kind of gesture, when someone is waving to a car, they are assumed to need help or try to stop the car.

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Physical Prototype

For this week, we were task with physical prototype and 3D printing using Makerbot! Luckily, my background before attending MHCID was Industrial Design so this wasn’t new to me. I had fun making stuff like I did when I was in undergraduate.

I made a “Labyrinth” (maze). Because I am familiar with the process of making things in 3D, I spent more of my time on designing the maze rather than trying out/experiment with the tools. Below are my rendering:

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Check out the 3D printed version of the Maze!

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Even though, Makerbot still has a lot of limitation, it makes 3D printing much more accessible than ever before. I am very excited to see what future will bring to the 3D printing industry.

 

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