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the challenge

Ford Motor Company came to our team with a request focused not on four wheels, but two. Armed with a printed, circuit board and analytics software, the global automaker wanted to explore developing a data recorder for commuting cyclists. This recorder would focus not on rider health, but on the road and surrounding conditions. Hooking in to the social network was a must; potential competitors were already gathering data during rides that helped cyclists make better decisions. Where should Ford play in this niche to burnish its image as a transportation company — not simply a car manufacturer?

 
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our approach

As always, we began with people. Multiple rounds of one-on-one research with avid cyclists identified distinct commuter types. Each group needed, cared about, and believed different things about their riding experience. Speck helped Ford select a rider design target and validated multiple ideas through the process with those participants. Importantly, we helped Ford understand the difference between tracking and training, along with the added value that other product features could bring. By mapping the rider's journey and how it can affect them cognitively and emotionally, Speck helped heighten Ford’s empathy for cyclists.

Mid-phase testing validated our offering: an elegant and satisfying user experience. Our packaging was luxe and premium; a cutaway frame form factor helped set the package design apart. We designed and manufactured ten Vecto Trace modules and packages.

The product’s name also needed to convey elements important to the identified design target. Speck’s recommendation of the name Vecto Trace allowed the product to step away from the existing Ford “umbrella” while still retaining association with it through deft use of the brand color palette.

 

what made the difference

Speck designed and developed a small module that attached to a standard water bottle fitting. The module contained a rechargeable battery; riders interacted with it via a simple button on the handle bars. Riders without water bottle cages could mount the device directly on the bicycle; indicator LEDs advised riders of battery state. The module came in a beautifully designed and branded package that included simple and clear instructions.

 
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