Quiet shortly after the failure of User Test No. 1, I had to get my head around which other way of communicating tactile is to be used for the handles. In my mind, I had a few ideas drawn out, like having a rolling pins in the handlebar, which will wave like go from one end of the handlebars to the other. Very similar to Braille, it would be only tangible to the fingers and not at all visual. A friend convinced me to draw up a rapid user text number two, instead of guessing again whether this is the right way to go. I quickly prototyped the most basic idea: having vibration on both ends of the handlebar to tell the user whether to go left or right. The prototype, again, consisted of arduino, two vibration motors, tape and a rented bike. The installation was even quicker, after 2 hours, it was ready to go. With also most of the snow gone, we were able to conduct the second user test outside on campus, with proper streets but no traffic. Instead of GPS, I built in a timer into the code, so it would vibrate on the left or the right ever so often, and the participant had to react to it, if appropiate of course.
One of my friends who also cycles for leisure, Connor Sword Powell Finlayson, participated in this user test and he responded with very positive feedback. He reported, that he felt the vibration was a very non-intrusive way to receive navigation, which he would prefer instead of looking down onto a screen. Nonetheless he remarked, that the vibration was very obvious and easily to be distinguished from the reverberation of a rough ground. This thoroughly positive feedback convinced me to go with vibrations as a way to communicate directions to the user. It is giving the object a heartbeat, a breathing rhythm, that makes it a living companion.