Routine Routes
Experimental, Critical
2016–2018, paused

Explore your surroundings by getting to your destination

Routine Routes are experiments for discovering your surroundings during your usual commute / by a normal walk. It aims to tweak familiar services to nudge the change of one's habits.

Some of my walks through Schwäbisch Gmünd – the blue line is a suggestion from Google Maps
To fully experience the diversity of a city you can not only walk the most beautiful paths.

ContextWhile strolling through the city, I wondered about the implications that arise from routing services mainly suggesting the fastest routes from A to B. Does this lead us to planning our trip around the algorithm's estimated time of arrival? Do we leave rarely earlier because of it? And what do we do with the gained time – more social media perhaps?

ApproachThe challenge is to design a product that deliberately distracts. No fastest or most scenic route: No filters in order to lead to places that one would otherwise not visit.

Concept Routine Routes takes the familiar – getting from A to B with a routing application – but twists it to serve a second purpose. The user's needs of getting to a place remains unchanged, but with a little extra time you discover your city, trip by trip. It wants to highlight that there is often no lack of time, but rather a lack of conscious distraction.

I quickly build wireframes to visualize my ideas
The user starts at their current location. They need to set a destination and an arrival time. In time remains an alternative route is provided.

Research through design and data

User needs An important user need is to arrive at the destination in time. Routing, rituals and routines makes it easier achieve this but harder on the other hand to change a habit. Why should one miss their morning coffee or their Instagram feed when nothing seems wrong?

Even a few more minutes added to your walking time increases the variety of the generated routes.

Process To get insights into my own behavior I created different prototypes. Using an Arduino I collected and later analyzed accelerometer data. I also tracked my walks using the Moves App ↗ and visualised that data on a Mapbox ↗ map. Getting familiar with Maxpbox also let me discover their routing API.

Variety of routes depending on walking time
Working with accelerometer data
I love how they dry their laundry
Varying lengths of string simulate different routes
Rapid prototyping with
pins and strings

Proof of concept I switched to paper and created different routes by using varying lengths of string. That experiment seemed promising so I started working on an algorithm that generates these kind of routes automatically:

Time: 0 min
Distance: 0 km
Generate route
Or create your own route
by clicking on two locations.
I want to highlight that there is often no lack of time, but rather a lack of conscious distraction.

Ideas for a series Working in this exploratory way doesn't take you straight to your destination 🙃 but helps let your mind wander. I noticed that multiple concepts could work under the topic of "challenging your assumptions". Like the concept of displaying only restaurants on a map that have not yet been rated:

Other approaches to challenge your assumptions: Find only restaurants that have no ratings

So Routines Routes is likely a project that never will finish but a way for me to question the things we perceive in our daily lives and take for granted.

Type of work

Critical design, Creative technology, Experimental, Side project


Self initiated side project
Summer 2016–2018, paused

My tasks

Conception, Research, Wireframes, Prototyping (with data)

Technical support

Stephan Bogner ↗

Other work ↓

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