From CS 160 User Interfaces Sp10
Introduction: Climbing Guide 2.0
This Iphone application is the next generation climbing guide book. It integrates an intuitive user interface that is both quick and easy to use with a social network that will help produce more data. Currently rock climbers can find new routes either by word of mouth or by picking up a guide for a specific area; these guides can cost anywhere from $20-100. By utilizing GPS geotagging technology, the Iphone camera, and the touch interface, we can create a quick and easy way for users to get the data they want and create their own content.
Target User Group
This application targets the many rock climbers in the Bay Area who have iphones or Itouch devices. Many rock climbers would love to climb outdoors more but a guide, human or paper, is needed to locate the specific rocks where routes have previously been established. A secondary target user group is the climbers who have been climbing indoors for some time and wish to try climbing outdoors, but are not familiar with how to do so.
In rock climbing gyms, routes are created by bolting on rock climbing holds that are taped a specific color to signify which holds are allowable for the specified route. Start holds, which are to be held with both hands at the start of the climb, are taped with an upside down V. Finish holds are taped with a U shape using three pieces of tape. All other holds are taped with a single strip of tape. This provides a visually distinguishable target for the climber to move towards while transitioning her hands and feet on the wall to complete the route. When climbing outdoors there are no such colors to guide the climber making it hard to know where to start, the direction to take, and how to complete the climb. There is also a secondary problem of finding the start of a climb in vast outdoor environments.
Problem Context and Forces
Climbing outdoors without some sort of guide is both impossible and just not as fun. Climbers need to know what a specified route is rated so they can say a priori if a route is within their skill level. Guides in the form of a published book are abundant in text, but slim on the imagery. Furthermore it is untypical for guides to designate which areas of the rock to grab when climbing a specific route. Typically a guide will consist of a map of the general area, a rating, name for the route, and a description of how to start and complete the route. If we’re lucky a photo of the rock may accompany the description. First the climber needs to find the start of the route using a hand drawn map of the location, then the climber needs to read the description of the climb in order to know where to start, where to go, and where to finish.
I propose a new way of creating a climbing guide by using the accepted paradigm of an indoor gym climbing route. In the gym, no description is needed, no guide is necessary; the colors guide the climber. By extending this pattern into a digital image of the actual rock, we can simulate the indoor climbing experience when outside. There are two interfaces to consider: Content Usage, and Content Creation.
Content Usage – This part should be intuitive because it directly replicates the scenario seen inside the gym. The holds are marked using colors to designate which areas to grab. The image will be equipped with touch zooming and panning as is customary in Iphone images. When climbing outdoors it is sometimes favorable to only designate the direction and leave it up to the climber to figure out how to get there, that is why the specific areas to grab will only be made explicit after a button is pressed. Initially the route will be designated by a line in the direction of the route.
Content Creation-This will be the more challenging part of the UI design because it requires the user to do some work with no immediate perceived benefit. Creating the route should be as easy and intuitive as possible. If we can make it fun that’s even better.
Finding the route will also be much easier by using GPS and geotagging the starts of the routes.
Important Business Considerations: If this application were to be deployed, it should only be marketed as a guide book for a relatively concentrated area. Bishop or Berkeley, CA could be possible locations. These guides must also be complete or nearly complete.
One iphone application that attempts to solve this but only does so using a single line to designate the direction. It does not attempt to replicate the scenario seen in a gym. I guess I should note that the current Iphone app is very poorly rated. bouldr