HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN GAINS TRACTION

  • RUN - designed for avid runners in ice and snow
  • WALK - for everyday use in ice and snow
  • The RUN product design combines spikes and coils
  • Spike pod product innovation
  • Ergonomically designed for fit and performance
  • Branding and package design
Yaktrax

Traction Products

GOAL

Innovation to stay ahead of the competition

SERVICES

Consumer Research
Patent Research
Idea Generation
Industrial Design
3D CAD
Prototyping
Pro-User Testing
Production Support
Branding
Packaging
Trade Show Exhibit

Yaktrax makes the best selling traction products in the world. Their patented coil traction device propelled them to 80% market share in the growing winter traction category. But they faced aggressive competitors eating into their market, and their coil patent was soon to expire. Yaktrax needed product innovation to stay ahead.

Slipping in the Snow With the End User

Our human-centered innovation process included patent research, user needs research, product development, branding, and an introductory campaign. BOLTgroup research and design teams traveled to the streets of Minneapolis and the mountains of Utah to gain a deep understanding of the end user needs. We recruited current and potential users for ethnography, observation, and interviews. Participants walked and jogged across icy parking lots and snowy paths. Interesting behavioral scenarios emerged—like walking the dog in the snow and endurance running across frozen lakes. The one-size-fits-all approach to product development was clearly lacking. Runners complained of discomfort and foot fatigue. Aggressive spikes made walking in urban environments awkward. And all traction products were difficult to put on.

Targeting Innovation to the Needs of Users

We uncovered insights from a range of user experiences—snow shoveling, winter jogging, ice fishing, caribou hunting, and simply walking to work. Targeting a key user segment we designed the first-of-its-kind ergonomic traction product for runners, sculpted for comfort and performance. We also created patent-pending swappable spike pods, allowing walkers and runners to tune their traction for every adventure. And our designs were safer, easier to put on, fit better, and looked cool!

Professional Runners Put Prototypes Through the Paces

Our product development team worked closely with the factory through rounds of prototypes, fine-tuning fit and performance. We enlisted expert endurance athletes to test prototypes and hone the user experience—logging hundreds of miles in snow and ice. And our brand development team created new branding, packaging design, trade show exhibit, and a roll-out campaign to build a complete brand story.

Product Innovation Keeps Yaktrax Ahead of the Pack

Released in 2012 the new Yaktrax products won immediate placement at major sports retailers like REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Core77 recognized the product with a Design Excellence Award. And, 2 new patents are pending—securing the market dominance that the company sought.

Process Examples
(Click Images to Enlarge)

Consumer Research Consumer Research
Ethnography Ethnography
Prototypes Prototypes
Product Testing Product Testing
Trade Show Exhibit Design Trade Show Exhibit Design
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