We followed the principles of IDEO.ORG's Design Kit

Human Centered Design

On this page you can find everything we did for the subject Human Centered Design. The Design Challenge can be found on another page.

Design Challenge



We started off with a questionnaire. The goal was to gain basic information about our target group. We decided to reach a big amount of people and put our survey into a group of active runners, with more than eight thousand members. We got more than one hundred responses. The questionnaire had 10 questions in total. We gained some basic information from the responders and also questions about their running habits.


In the left image you see the result of one specific question. This question was important in our process. Because our concept up until this point was to give the user an element of surprise by not showing the route the user must run. As we can see from the graph above almost 70% of the participants have their usual route for running and only 14% of them like to explore new areas. To increase the number of people who are interested in new locations, it made sense to make the application to generate a random route for the runner and navigate him/her through music as the runner won’t be able to see the route on his/her device.

See all results

First prototypes

After the questionnaire we started working on prototypes to start testing our concept. We had the opportunity to test our concept with around sixty PABO students at the Effenaar. Because we wanted to test as much parts of our concept, we decided to test multiple things.


Application prototype

In our concept was described that we wanted to make a mobile application. For that we wanted to test if that would be fitted and if the user interface that we had in thought was understandable.

Panning prototype

For prototyping one of the essential parts of our concept, we decided to make a quick and easy prototype. We used wireless headphones to navigate people through music. We didn’t tell them much before they started and they had to trust their gut feeling on what to do and what choice to make.


The results were both positive and negative. They all very quickly discovered what they had to do and which direction to go. That means that it felt very natural for them to follow the music and walk/run towards that direction. This was the most important part of the test. Also we discovered some “problems”. If there were two turns close to each other, the user was confused and didn’t know which turn to take. There were user who ran very fast and because we did the panning effect manually it was complicated to make the panning effect on time.


We created a video as our concept presentation at the end of the four weeks in the Effenaar. We made this because it gives the user a quick and good explanation of what our product has to offer for them. We tried to show what the problem was that we wanted to solve (the routine) and what solution we offer to fix that problem.



We created a questionnaire that consisted of four questions and the posted it into a Facebook group of active outdoor runners. We got around 160 responses on this questionnaire.

We focussed on two main things for this questionnaire.
1.  To know if runners prefer or do not prefer to use the same route when they go for a run.

2.  To verify the reasons why some runners, enjoy the same route and others prefer the diversity.

86 of runners prefer to go for a run on the route that they are familiar with. Because of…

  • Ability to check your progress and compare your performances because you know the exact distance and time the route will take.
  • Safety: Runners prefer to use the familiar route because they know what to expect.
  • Easy: You don’t have to spend time on coming up with a new route.

26 of runners prefer to explore new areas by running different routes. Because of…

  • Variety: Runners love to explore and see new views.
  • Runners get bored with running the same route because with time it stops being challenging enough.
  • Change of surface: Runners like to vary flat with hilly roads.

One-to-one interview

Before the one-to-one interview we wanted to let five active runners from Eindhoven experience the random route function from our concept. They would be given three different rounds for three days so they could run these routes. The interview would have taken place after the three days of random route test. Unfortunately, because of the poor time management, only one interview was conducted.

Main focus: To find out what would be the active runners reaction (opinion) on being navigated by someone else.

Outcomes: The routes were generated manually in Google maps. The participant got a little confused with the route because she had to listen for navigations through Google maps and she got them wrong, therefore she had to slow down to check her phone to see where she was and only then continue the run.

Main conclusion: To improve the user test instead of asking the participant to use Google Maps voice navigation, it would be more efficient to go for a run together with the participant (for example the tester rides a bike behind the runner) and give the directions to the participant through wireless headphones.

Andrew Statham
Founder ATO-gear

Expert interview

During my other project in Copenhagen, my group members conducted an interview with an expert expert Andrew Stateham, a CEO of ATO-GEAR company that helps people improve the way they move, by making the science of movement accessible. ATO-GEAR is the creator of ARION, a unique running wearable that helps you transform your running technique, to improve your performance and reduce your injury risk.

Main focus

To know expert’s opinion on generating new routes each time a runner goes for a run so he or she has some variety in their routes?


The acid test would be whether the application can make the run more interesting. Just sending a runner on a random route through very bad areas of the city is not a solution.
Runners usually ask their community where to run. It would be great if the assistant (mobile app) can do that: help finding interesting and attractive routes than rather just necessary random routes.

What motivates runners to run

- Loosing certain amount of weight
- Increasing the distance of the run
- Reducing the amount of the time needed for the certain distance
- Stress relief: runners that want to go in nature, get some fresh air, running gives them space to de-stress. This is one of the most common runner’s motivation to run


The biggest thing to work with is to make sure that our routes are going somewhere interesting and useful and runnable. Make the algorithm bias towards more cross-country off-road tracks because most runners want to see the nature features while they run. It would be a very good addition to have a parameter that will allow the runner to choose the type of the run. For example I want park running, cross-country running, sea running.

The value proposition canvas

We already had a solid concept so the canvas was to generate some new insights and to get inspired again.

How might we…

After the research we did, we decided to make ‘how might we’ questions based on the second questionnaire. This is useful for making questions that you can solve out of problems. Based on the answers of the questionnaire we tried to pick the most common problems of runners and make how might we questions out of these.

Prototype 1

Technical prototype

After the how might we questions we had a few questions to solve and test. We started with the technical aspect of the app. We wanted to answer the question “How might we technically make the random route generation?”. Indy and Anna started working on this and came up with a prototype that could map a random route on the map. There is one thing that still needs to be fixed and that is mapping the route on actual roads. With this prototype we found that it is technically possible to create the random route on the map.

Prototype 2

Design prototype

During the time Indy and Anna were working on the technical prototype, Elwin and I started working on another prototype. We were making the actual design of the ARA app. We designed a flow of screens that we could later test. First we made sketches on paper and after that worked those out in the program Sketch. We used Adobe XD to make the usable and testable prototype.

Heuristic evaluation

To get the comprehensive status of the UI’s usability our group asked five students that study media design from our Minor to review our prototype and compare it against the heuristics.


  1. Help is available on every screen/Purpose is clear: Three out of five experts said that the purpose wasn’t clear because they were missing a small tutorial on how to use the application.
  2. Appropriate use of white space: The progress graph can be bigger; The setup title takes a lot of space.
  3.  Consistent navigation: ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons are there but the ‘Cancel’ button is missing.
  4. Consistent way to return home: Return home doesn’t bring you to the home screen instead it brings you to the progress screen and the ‘Return home’ button is accessible only when the run is completed.
  5. Clear simple design: Too many clicks because of ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons.
    Organization of information makes sense: User icon doesn’t bring the user to the profile page.

User test prototype

For our final user test, we have created a test plan that includes small tasks that we asked the participants to execute. Because of the lack of the time my team decided to ask students from the University to test our prototype, although, fortunately some of the users turned out to be from our target group – the active runners.

Results of the tasks

Let’s say, you want to go for a 10-kilometer run in an urban area. What would be your steps?

Feedback: All users successfully completed this task by selecting the “Distance” and “Urban” environment.

Check if the user understands the use of the “NEXT” button.

Feedback: None of the participants had troubles with understanding the use if “Next” and “Previous” buttons.

But then you have changed your mind and you don’t care about the kilometers, but you want to run for 45 minutes in a nature environment.

Feedback: All the participants were able to execute this task by clicking the “Previous” button and change the preferences from “Distance” to “Time”.

What would you do if you wanted to check your profile? This question was asked where the “Return home” button was displayed.

Feedback: The functionality of the “Return home” button is to start navigating the person back home. The participants thought that this button would return them to the screen where you can choose the distance or time or to the “Profile” screen. The conclusion was that the “Return home” text has to be replaced with “Return to the starting location”.

Is this what you expected on your profile page?

Feedback: Most of the participants were alright with the content provided in the Profile page. However, there were couple of people who preferred to see more information about the progress instead of having it as a separate screen.

Where would you look if you wanted to see other people’s routes?

Feedback: Not everyone was expecting to find the “Social” page in the “Profile” section. Most of the users where looking for other people’s route in the “Community” section, where only people who are using the application are displayed.

What would you do if you saw a route you liked from another person and you want to run the same route?

Feedback: One of the participants didn’t notice the “Run route” button under each available run of the other person and was tying to execute the task by clicking on the “Community” section.


The student can apply a Human Centered Design process for interactive products or services

In each iteration, create prototypes of interactive products or services in increasing levels of fidelity

In different parts of the project we made prototypes and tested them. We made prototypes with low fidelity and some with high fidelity. The prototype in the Effenaar was low fidelity but it was really usefull though. We could answer the our research question with it and we could go on with the project and some new insights.

Extensively involve end-users in a methodical way, in each iteration of the design

We tried to test our prototypes as much as we could. It was a challenge to find people that could test. But testing with our target group was very usefull. They let us look into their running routines and gave us some good insights on how to improve their run.

Create products or services that users and customers value (including business model)

Within this project we really listened to our target group. Our goal was to improve their run and that was what we focussed on. In every iteration we asked our target group about our prototype and concept to keep improving. The end result was that most people of our target group wants to use our app!