Project update: Playful data design for Greenwheels

Hogeschool Rotterdam invited Info.nl to contribute to the minor User Experience Design. In response, Info.nl/labs formulated an assignment that challenged students to think about new aspects of interaction designs: data and play, an important research theme of Info.nl/labs. Based on an applicable fictional case for Greenwheels, three student groups worked for 8 weeks on the case with interesting results.

We assigned students to develop an iPhone app for Greenweels, based on the available data concerning driving behavior. Think hereby of data like the average speed, rpm, chosen gear, brakes, distance traveled and time. Greenwheels currently determines the costs based on time and kilometers. By taking all this extra information into the equation, a realistic link between costs and burdening for both the car as the environment arises. This surely gives an interesting starting point of data driven design.

All groups chose to use gaming techniques to influence the behavior by incorporating point systems to give individuals feedback on their behavior, or by starting a competition between drivers within a company or between companies. In this last concept, a way was sought to involve employees with the costs of driving, even though they don’t actual pay the costs, this is a nice additional goal.

A lot of attention is been given to feedback during driving. Either visualized by growing or dying trees or by some sort of meter, it’s well shown that the students really thought about how to translate the available data to a simple display. The use of data in visualizing the driver’s behavior is filled variously. Each group filled the use of social pressure via social media in a different way, but social media was present in each concept.

The whole project delivered nice results and also inspired us to work on such smart apps, an important spearhead of Info.nl/labs. To think even deeper about the role of data in real-time behavior influence and designing for multitasking are the main design challenges.

On vimeo you can find a demo of one of the groups.

This minor is one of the first results of the new Info.nl/labs. In this research & development unit, we try to research various aspects of our vision of the ecosystem. Adaptive service design, data science and playful interactions are the most important research areas. We develop proactive projects sometimes with partners and existing clients.

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