Pathfinder
Pathfinder has been designed to improve pedestrian visibility, interactivity and communication, transforming the typical zebra crossing.



Core Functionality

1. Indicator LED Light Strips
Our indicator LED strips were utilised as it effectively improved the communication between pedestrians and drivers. The LED strips work by turning red when pedestrians are crossing and green when there is no one crossing, effectively solving this miscommunication between users. This will be implemented by using Arduino.



2. Interactive Floor
The interactive floor is the main component of our redesigned zebra crossing, improving visibility and interactivity for pedestrians at night. Our interactive floor works by creating a path for pedestrians to take while crossing the pedestrian crossing, effectively transforming the crossing into an interactive experience. This will be created using projector, Processing and Xbox Kinect.


Concept Video

TIMELINE: 13 WEEKS
THE TEAM: SELENA UNG/MAYSA WOZEER/JAMES LEE/RACHEL RYOO
YEAR: 2019



The Design Process
Background Research
The Design Brief
Pedestrian safety has been an ongoing issue with multiple factors including the use of electronic devices while walking, road design, and driver behaviour all contributing to a lack of safety. The environmental factors influencing pedestrian fatality rates may have changed, however, the vulnerability of pedestrians still remains with pedestrian deaths increasing by 9.3% yearly in Australia alone (CarTakeBack, 2019). Additionally, pedestrians are even more at risk during the evening, with a peak in pedestrian fatalities occurring between 6pm and 8:59pm on weeknights (BITRE, 2015). This shows a need to provide additional safety measures for pedestrians, particularly at crosswalks without lights where people are even more vulnerable. 

Zebra crossings alone present a specific range of problems for pedestrians from poor communication with drivers to a lack of visibility at night. Within the University of Sydney, the Cadigal Green zebra crossing is an area that faces foot and road congestion, thereby impacting the experience and safety of pedestrians. This busy area has the potential to be improved by smoothing the interaction between drivers and pedestrians and thereby reducing the threat of miscommunication or accidents.

Smart and interactive technologies can target the issues faced at the Cadigal Green zebra crossing and provide opportunities to make pedestrians feel safer and better prioritised specifically during night time. These technologies can not only be implemented in Cadigal Green to foster a sense of safety for pedestrians from other road users by increasing visibility, but can also be designed to provide a more exciting experience for users.


About Our Problem​​​​​​​
The development of technology within the past decade alone has been substantial, yet these technologies have yet to be incorporated  in the area of pedestrian safety and zebra crossings in particular, with many designs still relying on a button or a sign. Our team believes that we can provide a better pedestrian experience by targeting the issues of boredom, lack of safety, communication errors and pedestrian responsibilities faced in the zebra crossing. Our chosen focus area is the Cadigal Green Zebra Crossing in University of Sydney, due to the existing issues in this area and the potential to upgrade and create a  better place for pedestrians.


Key Insights from Primary Research
Our team conducted a survey and asked University of Sydney students about their experiences both with zebra crossings in general, and also the Cadigal Green Zebra Crossing. This was done to obtain a better grasp on the issues faced by pedestrians at night. By doing this survey, it allowed us to gather quantitative and qualitative data in a short time so we could identify our user needs and therefore what is to be fixed with current zebra crossing. 
●   We gathered 30 responses in total and these were the key insights:
●   22 individuals prefer walking with people at night
●   29 individuals tend to walk where there is more light
●   16 individuals feel unsafe walking at night and feel paranoid
●   Participants are aware of their safety as they look both sides before crossing the zebra, but majority gets distracted when walking and do not pay attention to their surroundings
●   Participants hesitate to cross sometimes due to lack of communication with driver, which they end up following the crowd
●   Participants feel sorry for the cars when the crossing goes for too long - sometimes communication occurs with hand gestures


Overall Insights
We believe that the Cadigal Green Zebra Crossing can provide a better experience to pedestrians by improving upon the  zebra crossing while considering user needs that we discovered through our survey. Our primary research uncovered three main areas that we need to keep in mind when ideating:

Communication
Communication between drivers and pedestrians in broad daylight can be difficult when it comes to zebra crossings. Our concept would need to help this interaction between drivers and pedestrians.
Safety
Many participants feel unsafe when walking at night alone. Our concept would need to foster a sense of personal safety and safety in regards to both other foot traffic and also  car traffic.
Entertainment
Our findings revealed that our users lacked entertainment when walking home. This can disconnect users from their surroundings and cause more dangerous situations. Our solution would need to engage our users.


Initial Concepts

1. Pathfinder
Pathfinder focuses on enhancing the pedestrian experience of zebra crossings at night by highlighting visibility of pedestrians in the dark and also their interactions with the crossing. 
From a pedestrian’s point of view, all zebra crossing lines are horizontal. Once pedestrians step onto the road, the zebra crossing lines will turn vertically and turn into smaller rectangles. After the first step, a rectangle will appear under the pedestrian’s foot and several more rectangles will appear and form a path. The path will be illuminated so that pedestrians can be seen at night by drivers to enhance the safety of crossing. ​​​​​​​
Additionally, on either side of the zebra crossing, a red line will light up to notify drivers to wait for pedestrians to cross. We decided to choose the colour red as it is universally symbolic of “stop” such as red traffic lights.  After 5 seconds when there is no pedestrian crossing, the vertical and red lines will go back to its original horizontal position like a normal zebra crossing. ​​​​​​​
2. Light Up
Light Up turns zebra crossings from a dull interaction into an immersive, interactive and safe experience. Watch the zebra crossing light up under your feet as you make your way across the road.
With each step, the crossing and the pedestrians’ surrounding area lights up in an interactive and immersive way. Additionally, each square plays a musical note when stepped on, to engage pedestrian’s senses both visually and aurally but also enhance their journey from one side of the crossing to the other.
As each additional person steps on the same square, the hue of the square gets darker and darker. When the zebra crosses does not sense any other foot traffic, the lit up squares will flash in an orange hue three times before disappearing, communicating to drivers that it is now safe to drive across. 
If a pedestrian steps on the crossing while a car is driving over the crossing, the square they stepped on will turn red warning them to stop and go back to the sidewalk.

3. Starry Night
Starry Night changes zebra crossings from ‘boring’ to exciting by creating an immersive experience that helps with pedestrian visibility and sense of safety.
Our Starry Nights concept works by having a starry night visual projected on the zebra crossing. Essentially anytime a pedestrian walks onto the crossing a comet trail will follow their footsteps, creating an interactive environment for users while simultaneously increasing pedestrian visibility for oncoming drivers. 
When there are no pedestrians crossing the road, the stars on the crossing will illuminate on each end of the zebra crossing,
visually communicating to drivers that the pedestrians are ‘giving way’ and that it is safe for them to drive across.​​​​​​​

User Testing

Our Approach
Our overall approach our group took in conducting the evaluation of our concepts was to thoroughly user test our prototypes and analyse the data we received.
The diagram provided shows the overall structure of our approach to our design process and reveals the key steps of when we conducted necessary evaluations of our concept.
User Testing Methods: 

Think Aloud Method
We conducted the Think Aloud method as it allowed us to grasp a deeper understanding of the thoughts and feelings of users as they are interacting with our prototypes.
A/B Testing
A/B Testing was conducted to gauge which product was more suitable for our specific user needs. The user needs that we are focusing on includes improving safety,  user interaction and communication between drivers and pedestrians.
Contextual Observation
Contextual Observation was conducted to develop a better understanding of how users interact with our prototype/product. More specifically, analysing the facial expressions, gestures and actions of users.
Semi Structured Interviews
The last method we conducted was semi-structured interviews which was utilised to collected detailed feedback on our prototypes but to also gain insights into the experiences of our users in an informal manner.
Evaluation Methods

Affinity Diagramming
Affinity Diagramming is an evaluation method that helps sort large clusters of data into groups or themes based on their natural relationships.
Heuristic Evaluation
Heuristic Evaluation is a usability method  that identifies usability problems in user interfaces.

Decision Matrix
Decision Matrices are effective in evaluating designs against a specific criteria.

Low Fidelity Prototypes

Light Up​​​​​​​
Construction of our Prototype:
Our Light Up low-fidelity prototype was constructed using cardboard and paint. Squares were painted a range of hues in the colour blue which would mimic our motion sensor zebra crossing. We also used a phone with a piano app to act as our sound while users interacted with our prototype.
User Testing Protocol:
1. When user testing our Light up Prototype, we told users the context and a brief summary of our prototype. 
2. Due to the constraints of a low fidelity prototype, we instructed users to tell us where they wished to step and then placed darker squares prior to them taking their next step to mimic our motion sensor panels. 
3. Each time users took a step we would manually play a piano sound, with the sound gradually getting lower as they walk across the crossing. 
4. We then asked users to think aloud as they made their way across the zebra crossing.
Key Findings Summary

Very Engaging
Our user testing revealed that Light Up is a very engaging and immersive concept with interactions that make pedestrians pay attention to their surroundings a lot.
Too Distracting
Although the gamification made users more engaged, it was quickly evident that this is more of a flaw than a positive. Users were extremely distracted from their task of crossing the road safely.
Visual and Audio Feedback
The visual feedback through colour changes and the audio feedback through the use of sound were the most welcomed aspects of this concept that should be incorporated into our next iterations of our designs.

Pathfinder
Construction of our Prototype:
Our Pathfinder low-fidelity prototype was constructed using cardboard, white paper and red tape. White paper was stuck onto cardboard and cut out in the shape of zebra crossing lines, while the red tape was used as our LED lights.
User Testing Protocol:
1. When user testing our Pathfinder Prototype we told users the context and a brief summary of our prototype.
2. Due to the constraints of a low fidelity prototype, we manually turned the white panels to mimic the zebra lines ‘making a path’ for users prior to them stepping onto our interaction. 
3. Users were then asked to walk across the zebra crossing whilst simultaneously thinking aloud.
Key Findings Summary

Effective Communication
Pathfinder had extremely effective communication between drivers and pedestrians with the side light strips being one of the main motivators for this decision. It made it clear for drivers to stop and wait for pedestrians to cross.
Not Engaging
Although this concept excelled in communicating between drivers and pedestrians, many users found the concept not engaging or entertaining. The interaction was minimal and not extremely noticeable or memorable.
Simple and Effective Design
Overall, the design of the concept was simple yet effective. The concept is straightforward and clear, thereby not impacting the safety of pedestrians by distracting them from their surroundings.


Starry Night
Construction of our Prototype:
Our Starry Night low-fidelity prototype was constructed using white cardboard, a range of colour paints and string. To create our starry night scene we used a variety of paints and stars, while our comet trails and star strings were constructed with the addition of string.
User Testing Protocol:
1. When user testing our Starry Night Prototype we told users the context and a brief summary of our prototype. 
2. Due to low-fidelity prototype constraints, we attached ‘comet trails’ to users feet to mimic trails following their feet as they walk.
3. Our star strings which were placed on the ends of the crossing to notify drivers that it's safe to cross were moved prior to users interacting with the prototype to indicate to drivers that it is not safe to cross. 
4. We then asked users to walk across the crossing, interacting with the prototype while simultaneously thinking aloud.
Key Findings Summary

Very Engaging and Distracting
This concept is engaging to a fault with many of our users getting distracted from crossing the road and rather lingered and played on the crossing, watching behind them at the comet movement.
Too Much Information
We also discovered that this concept had a lot of information and symbolism being presented on one zebra crossing. Pedestrians got confused and overwhelmed by the amount of elements on the crossing.
Good Visibility
Because of the comet trailing behind the user, this concept has very good pedestrian visibility. This helps with the aspect of safety and communication with drivers, particularly in the context of nighttime.


Evaluation of Low Fidelity Prototypes
​Changes to our Concepts

From our findings and analysis, we discovered the key aspects that needed to be considered and/or changed to improve our concepts for the next round of user testing.
1. ‘Light Up’ is very engaging but consequently less safe due to the fact that there is a higher change that pedestrians will want to stay on the zebra crossing
2. ‘Pathfinder’ is easy to understand and functional however, it lacks engagement and contains minimal interaction
3. ‘Starry Night’ is visually appealing but also causes pedestrians to linger on the road and get distracted from crossing the road safely
Thus, we decided to go forward with our Pathfinder and Starry Night concepts into the mid-fidelity prototyping stage, making appropriate changes that we discovered during our low-fidelity prototype stage.


Pathfinder
After analysing our data, we decided to move forward with ‘Pathfinder’ due to the effectiveness of the concept. However, we also decided to take the best aspects of ‘Light Up’ and incorporate them into the basic functionality of ‘Pathfinder’ to make a more engaging, clear, interactive and practical solution. ​​​​​​​
1. Indicator Strips
We decided to keep the indicator strips on the side of the crossing that communicates to drivers when it is safe for them to drive across since this was the most successful aspect of all our user testing.
2. Auditory Feedback
We chose to include the auditory feedback to the concept so a tone plays when a user is on the crossing thereby making ‘Pathfinder’ more engaging, accessible and overall a more interactive experience.
3. Colour Changes
We also decided to include the colour changes as our users enjoyed the visual feedback when interacting with the crossing. Each step in the path is a darker hue to make the user feel like they are reaching a ‘goal’.
4. Revealed Path
When a pedestrian takes a step on the crossing, only two rectangles are visible at a time - the one beneath the user’s foot and the next step in the path thereby creating a more immersive interaction.

Starry Night
Although ‘Starry Night’ was not the strongest concept, it did have a lot of engagement and had the potential to tick all of our boxes with some adjustments. We simplified the visual design of ‘Starry Night’ whilst incorporating some of the more successful aspects of ‘Light Up’ and ‘Pathfinder’ to create a more substantial concept that met our user needs.
1. Simplified Design
We decided to simplify the design and functionality of this concept. We made the stars form the shape of a typical zebra crossing to make the function obvious. We also removed the star movements to minimise confusion.
2. Auditory Feedback
Since the auditory feedback was such a big positive in ‘Light Up’, we decided to include this functionality in this concept as well. Whenever a user is on the crossing, a constant twinkling will sound to alert others.
3. Under the Foot
We changed the comet functionality to have the comet explode underneath the foot of the user thereby encouraging users to engage with their surroundings and look where they are walking.
4. Indicator Strip
Based on their success in ‘Pathfinder’, we decided to include the indicator strips to this concept as a means to effectively communicate with drivers when there are no pedestrians and therefore when they can drive across.

Mid Fidelity Prototypes
Pathfinder
Construction of our Prototype:
Our Pathfinder low-fidelity prototype was created using Adobe After Effects. Due to low-fidelity prototype constraints we created a virtual simulation of what our interaction would be like if it was fully interactive.
User Testing Protocol:
1. When user testing our Pathfinder Prototype we told users the context and a brief summary of our prototype.
2. Due to the constraints of a low fidelity prototype, we created a simulation that users had to follow. Thus, we marked crosses on the ground to inform users of where to walk
3. Users were then asked to walk across the zebra crossing whilst simultaneously thinking aloud.​​​​​​​

Prototype:


Key Findings Summary
1. Entertaining and Safe
This concept is a good balance between entertaining and safe as the crossing is engaging yet not so much so that it distracts the user from crossing the road safely.
2. Confusing Indicator Strip
A few of our users were confused by the indicator strip on the sides of the crossing, particularly if that indicator was targeted to them as pedestrians or the drivers.
3. More Interactivity
Although most users enjoyed the engagement and entertainment the crossing provided, there were some users who were looking for more interactivity with the zebra crossing.

Starry Night
Construction of our Prototype:
Our Starry night low-fidelity prototype was created using Adobe After Effects. Due to low-fidelity prototype constraints we created a virtual simulation of what our interaction would be like if it was fully interactive.
User Testing Protocol:
1. When user testing our Starry Night Prototype we told users the context and a brief summary of our prototype. 
2. Due to the constraints of a low fidelity prototype, we created a simulation that users had to follow. Thus, we marked crosses on the ground to inform users of where to walk
3. We then asked users to walk across the crossing, interacting with the prototype while simultaneously thinking aloud.​​​​​​​

Key Findings Summary

1. Interactive and Engaging
Many of our users liked the interactivity within this concept and thought as a whole it was very engaging to interact with.
2. Confusing Indicator Strip
A few of our users were confused by the indicator strip on the sides of the crossing, particularly if that indicator was targeted to them as pedestrians or the drivers.
3. Star Functionality
There was a lot of confusion regarding the functionality of the stars and whether they served a purpose or were just there for aesthetics. Many users expected there to be a purpose for the stars.



4. Appearance
It is still not apparent that Starry Night is actually a zebra crossing. Many participants expressed their concern that they would hesitate to use it in real life due it’s ‘art’ like appearance.
5. Too Entertaining
With the small star explosion underneath the users’ feet and overall aesthetic, there is still some concern about the crossing being too engaging and therefore potentially distracting for users.

Our Chosen Concept: Pathfinder
Why did we Choose this Concept?
Our group decided to choose ‘Pathfinder’ as our final concept to pursue. This concept was the easiest for people to understand, and safest out of the other concepts. The key factor we as a group had to keep in mind was that this is in the context of a zebra crossing used at night time. This means that safety such as visibility and interaction were two priorities that we aim to uphold. Therefore Pathfinder is a concept that is simple, engaging, and does not taint the safety aspect of zebra crossings. The illuminated rectangles that form a path provide visibility to pedestrians crossing the road. This enhances the safety as pedestrians are able to be clearly seen by other people and drivers around them. The rectangles are also interactive with every step the pedestrian takes. By simply walking, the pedestrian interacts with the concept in a very understandable way. The addition of the red LED lights on the side of the crossing, further enhances the visibility of the pedestrian so that particularly drivers on either side of the crossing are able to clearly see when pedestrians are crossing.

Target Audience
Students
Students are our main target as they are cover the majority of the population at USYD.
Teachers
Teachers are also part of our target audience as they are also present on campus.
Other Pedestrians
In some occasions, non students/teachers come onto campus for various reasons and thus are impacted by our zebra crossing concept.
Not Suitable for Wheelchairs
People on wheelchairs won’t be able to fully experience the concept. Pathfinder only detects people’s steps and thus wheelchair people won’t be able to see the “steps” appearing.  ​​​​​​​


Concept Visualisations


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