The Good Journey Major Project
The Good Journey “Make people look forward to their daily commute” “How could people think of their commute differently, thereby increasing their own personal well-being?” This project asked for a design solution that would alleviate the neccesary evil of commuting. It sought to improve a daily journey in such a way that it would improve it for many people.
Influenced by the concept of the flaneur, visual and observational research was collected through taking photos and videos. I documented my commute to and from university and then subsequent bus and tube journeys at different times of the day.
Documenting how cramped a tube carriage can be at rush hour.
Observations on the beahviour of commuters: - People would cluster together on the platforms for where they think the carriage door will open at the platform. - There are those who observe a queue and those who ignore it. - Eye contact with another commuter is not common or sustained. - Commuters carry about their personal routines. (snoozing, applying make up, paper work) - Itâ€™s more common to wait for someone to leave their newspaper behind and then to take it to read, than for people to ask if someone would like it.
Articles on commuting had written about how commuting produced solitude in people and social isolation; this notion was observed in the observational research. On the buses, people seemingly chose to sit alone by a window seat. When the window seats were taken up, only then would a person sit next to someone else.
There is a tremendous presence of personal devices during commuting. - Mobile phones - iPods and MP3 players. - Kindle ebook readers - iPads This further creates insular behaviours.
Observing the physical environment of buses and Tube trains. It was here that I decided that the design solution would not lie in an infrastructure change as it already has such an important role in transporting people from one destination to another.
The interventions and touchpoints to be encountered in the commuting environment were then looked at in greater detail.
Mapping out the observational research and interventions and touchpoints.
During research, I came across “FixMy Transport” which allows for people to tweet to transport providers on issues they had on journeys. This led me to run Twitter searches with key words to do with commuting as a way of finding out more qualitative information. It was funny to see those who take to the free platform of Twitter to write complaints or to express opinions about their journey on the transport they take. As suspected, despite the majority of commuters being insular and not speaking to others, it doesn’t mean that a commuter doesn’t have an opinion on their commute. There were negative and positive things expressed on Twitter, as well as pictures and funny stories that highlighted the charm of travelling. This brought to my attention that there are a lot of personal and expressive narratives in the daily commute.
When starting to develop ideas, I began to look at how when windows steam up on a bus, it reveals the marks and drawings made by another person on the window. This mechanism communicated the presence and personality of the journeys and narratives of other commuters sharing the same physical space. I came up with an initial concept of having games that could be played in groups on a steamed up bus window and you are encouraged to tweet your results. The references behind that are: - Removing people away from their personal and electronic devices. - Injecting stimulation and play in the monotonous nature of commuting. - Building up a sense of community and a collective narrative amongst commuters through Twitter, an instantaneous platform that requires minimal effort in order to participate.
Initial ideas for games that would go onto the windows of a bus included: - Dot to dot. - Complete the scene. - Word games. And games which specifically required more than one person to play: - Noughts and crosses. - Drawing competitions.
A selection of the games were prepared and then tested to see which were engaging and which ones fostered interaction.
From the testing of the games, it became clear that the next step would be to test the concept in the context of a bus. A name was devised, â€œOnRoute...â€? This was to encourage the use of a hash tag, in hope that tweeters would attach the number of their bus, to make people aware of the locations of where drawings were being tweeted from.
Testing the games in context revealed that the games engaging. However, it was physically hard to draw onto windows as you need to be directly facing it.
Mock ups of the Twitter page and tweets for @OnRoute_
Trying to have the games tested and existing in the context of a steamed up window became hard to achieve and therefore hard to move beyond. Through revisiting the brief and refining the idea through mind mapping, the idea of the drawing games would instead be placed on the outside of a newspaper. By placing the games on the outisde of a newspaper, it would grab more attention, the drawing could be easier to circulate and to foster interaction from one commuter to another. Also because someone has drawn on the newspaper, it would produce a sense of ownership of it, therefore making them less likely to dump the newspaper.
The new touchpoints and interventions.
The intervention of wrap around adverts and campaigns on newspapers and magazines already exist so the design resolution would sit in context. A chance to change the games frequently or to encourage a collaboration with artists or companies would give an additional thing for commuters to look forward to.
When the project was shown and tested at an interim exhibition, it confirmed that the concept was right to change from vinyl graphics on a window to the outside of a newspaper.
A possible logo idea was generated.
Prototypes were created for the wrap around campaign.
Protoypes were then tested at a site specific touchpoint at Elephant and Castle tube station.