Last week, our thesis development class held a brainstorming session where we broke up into groups to help each other come up with new ideas for our thesis topics. One idea that stood out for me was “city hopscotch.”
Ideas Ideas Ideas
I transferred the ideas that were generated during our brainstorming session over to a dedicated workspace, which happened to be the wall in my room. Classy.
In addition to the posted ideas, I included a few of my own.
There were a few ideas that stuck out for me, but one of them was more prototypeable than the others, which happened to be the Chalk Walk idea.
Chalk Walk is an outdoor challenge where pedestrians follow a set of walking instructions visualized on the sidewalk (sort of like the foot prints on those mats that teach you how to dance).
There are three levels, novice, normal, and expert. Novice mode consists of regular walking whereas normal mode gets a bit tricky where participants are required to walk sideways and even have to jump. Expert mode requires more physical activity where some running is necessary in order to land bigger jumps.
Why three modes?
Inspired by BJ Fogg’s Behavior Grid, which describes 15 ways behaviors can change, the three modes offer participants a way to transition from doing a familiar behavior (novice) to increasing behavior intensity (expert).
A Visual Library
While prototyping Chalk Walk, I quickly realized that I didn’t have a library of patterns to work with, i.e. what icon/drawing on the ground would inform participants to “run.” All I had in mind were boxes. As I drew the pathways (with the help of my roommate), we started to establish a visual library.
Motivation and Incentives
There were barely any incentives for pedestrians to participate in this public act. There was also no motivation to sustain this behavior over a period of time. If this wasn’t a prototype, perhaps some sort of scoring mechanism would be implemented.
Where to Prototype
Never chalk up a sidewalk that is right next to a business, especially a restaurant. After finishing the prototype and doing some test runs, we went over to a nearby restaurant to get some breakfast. On our way back, we witnessed one of the restaurant employees hosing down the sidewalk, which meant that I was unable to do any observations with passerbys that day. Doh!