Working with a product that specializes in a certain function (in this case shelter) creates a whole new set of problems. While every design problem can be seen as simple in theory/ complex in execution, the first difficulty lies in the definition of the problem space.
For some reason the design brief flew a little over my head on this one. This is not my first time as both the client and the designer, and the whole fuzzy area at the beginning tied me up. I wanted to move in a way that was outlined by the creative process rather than the side of me that needs to get up and just do it. The eagerness of the business and the excitement of the entrepreneur are two parts of my brain that need to be balanced out with the good design process.
The reasons for requiring shelter are straightforward; to put a barrier between the elements and the person. The reasons for carrying a shelter add a bit of complexity to the issue. Usually in the form of:
– Is it worth it?
– Will I use it?
– Will it be problem to carry it?
– Can I rely on it?
– Is it safe to use (camping)?
As I stated in my last post, there is a certain demographic that I am designing this for. They already have answered these questions, and in their own ways have set out to solve these problems. My goal is to make this easy on them. Like a pannier, the shelter part of the adventure set up should be a no brainer.
A rider has many reasons to desire a shelter to take with them. The rain, sun and sleep are the big three. In my experience, another outcome of having had my own shelter is the comfort and security I would get from crawling into my own space each night. Hotels might seem the comfortable option, but when I am trying to gain distance a breakdown of my bike and packing gear into a hotel is major hassle.
At this stage I am favoring the design of having the shelter breakdown into two parts; the fly and the tunnel shelter. The reason for this is to create a way for the user to configure this into any solution desired, from a place to nap out of the sun to a break from the rain. And all of this needs to be done in a way that makes the reward worth the little bit of effort.