EVO, Inc. is a service that partners with local municipalities and public transportation services to make trip with kids a learning-focused adventure. The service is a customizable and internet connected toy called Evo that teaches kids about traffic rules and gives them location-specific information. Evo has a companion app that transforms boring daily routes into adventure quests.
EVO, Inc. was a 3 weeks Service Design project at CIID taught by Mike Peng, Simon Herzog, Daniel Letts, and Steve Bishop. This project is completed with Can Yanardag, Arvind Sanjeev, and Charlotte Asakskogen. My role in this project was research, prototyping, and strategy.
We created Evo, a service and a product that turns any trip in the city into a learning adventure.
For example, you can input a location into the Evo app, much like Google Maps, and the app will transform that route into a gamified quest with learning goals. Evo interacts with kids through a voice interface, giving them directions and quests. Kids can earn stars every time they complete quests related to traffic safety and navigation. EVO helps parents to entertain and protect their kids.
We used a mixture of in-depth interviews, observational research, and empathy research.
In order to understand the topic, we started with in-depth interviews. We talked to both kids and adults about their traveling habits and experiences. We visited them in their homes and observed as they took their children around the city. To help us better understand the people that we are designing for, we created a set of interview tools to help us go deeper into their daily routine. Our transportation cards and journey map tools helped us to understand identify the pain points.
Another important part of our process was empathy research. Because none of us are parents with young children, we felt like we needed to experience traveling around the city from their perspective. In our first empathy experience, we traveled around the city with a stroller. We experienced the pain point of going through rush hour on public transport with a stroller.
In the second empathy experience, we rented Copenhagen style cargo bikes frequently used by parents to transport kids. We rode them around the city to experience picking up and dropping off kids.
Quick prototypes and bodystorming in the real world shaped our design direction.
Based on our five insights, we realized that the act of traveling in the city and transitioning to more independent travel was an important milestone for both kids and the parents. When traveling with children in cities, parents often teach and mentor their kids to be independent. Traveling together is also an opportunity for heart-to-heart conversations. After several rounds of sketching and ideating, we dot voted on the ideas that best address our insights.
In order to continue the development of the product and service, we need more input from the participants that matter: kids! We set up three testing and co-creation sessions with parents and kids. We brought them our lo-fi prototype and brought it to life using wizard-of-oz techniques.
We learned that kids did not need access to the digital interface. A voice interface worked well. They quickly become attached to EVO and readily believed the narrative that we built. However, when it came to parents, having a digital interface was important to keep track where they were going and to educate their kids about road safety.
In the final phase of the project, we focused on the story building, service journey, and business plan.
From the testing sessions, we realized that to engage with young kids, we needed to create a narrative around EVO. Thus, the story of EVO, the Alien Botanist, was born. The kids loved the idea of doing challenges that would help EVO get home. We found that road safety and navigation themed challenges worked well when they were incentivized with a feeding reward. We moved on to working in higher fidelity.
We really challenged ourselves to think about the business aspect of this service. He wanted us to think about the viability of the product from more than just the design perspective. We envisioned our service as a subscription model where parents can buy into new quests. We did some market analysis and found our price proposal to be similar to other smart toy offerings. The parents we spoke with were happy to pay for a service like this.
This project was a great opportunity for me to try out new research methods. I was able to conduct in-depth interviews, empathy research, and analogous research. I took a lead role in building and creating the final version of Evo. Finally, I contributed to the project on from a high level and created the business strategy.