For my first Interview, I talked with someone from a previous class I had taken, who thoroughly enjoys sports and more random activities. The interview went like this:
2) A group, more opportunity for good times. Anyone drinking and sledding is pretty badass but it's probably more fun with a group. You can race, which adds a gaming aspect to it!
3) The flexibility with it, there aren't any rules. You can make up some rules if you and your friends want to, but you don't have to!
4) Make it a battle to the bottom, with weapons and sticks. More fun, and you are more determined to go faster.
5) Drinking and sledding- makes it way more fun. You are less scared to go fast and more competitive with your friends, although brakes on your sled are always a plus. You want to be able to stop when you want to stop, and steer when you're sledding by trees and other people (especially families).
6) Drinking and sledding- I was going too fast, didn't have brakes or a steering wheel, so I had to jump off.. But the sled wasn't very reliable when it came to staying on a track or being able to predict where it was going to go, so I hit a tree when I jumped off and the sled hit another one.
Interview Two: An acquaintance from Michigan, a Junior at Michigan State University.
2.)a group because I like being around big groups of people, and it's more fun! Plus, there is more likely going to be someone there to carry your sled up the hill.
3.)being with people and having a good time. It can be a social event, not necessarily about just sledding but racing, going fast, and laughing at all the stupid things that tend to happen.
4.) I would change the fact that it must be during winter. I want to be able to sled (or something like it) all year long! Like the alpine slide at Lutsen, but without the tracks. Or something where you can make your own tracks in the grass or sand or something.
5.) my best experience sledding was green acres when i was in 9th grade. we went in a huge group and kept screwing up the toe rope. It was also a better experience because it was tubing, it seems like the material of tubes makes you go way faster and they're more comfortable to ride, but not as easy to control, so you usually end up falling off and sliding down the hill without a sled or tube at all. It also seemed like the snow was more packed down, more like ice. That made it more fun too.
6.) my worst experience sledding was when I went off a jump and hit my lip super hard when I landed. It's hurt like a bitch.. Not to mention the material of the sled was hard so it hurt to hit as well as sit on while going down the hill and over bumps.
And Interview Three: An acquaintance from High School who now lives in Duluth and attends UMD.
For this part of the assignment, I realized it's not really late enough in the season to actually observe the action, considering we have no snow! So, instead, I went on amazon and researched the different types of sleds on the market, and read through the reviews for the five most seemingly innovative and different sleds, and picked out the things that seemed to stick out the most in the reviews.
Sled one: Zipfly Sled
People thought it had an interesting design, and some thought it was a successful one. However, most of the reviews covered things more like the fact that the design makes the sled hard to steer, especially for smaller children, and there are only two tracks on the bottom of the sled, making the sled hard to move, and fairly slow. The design also makes it difficult to carry back up the hill and travel with.
Sled two:Saucer Sled
This one is made of a thick resin that allows it to go fast, but makes it fairly heavy and hard to carry. The circular design makes it rotate while you're sledding, which is fun until you realize that you have absolutely no control over where you're going.
Sled three:Lucky Bums
This one, most people said, was really not safe. It is top heavy which makes it hard for children to use, because they often fall out of the sled. A positive thing they said was that it was easy to steer.
Sled four: Flexible Flyer PT Blaster
The people who loved this one LOVED it, and the other reviews relayed that they hated it. The positive reviewers said that it was good for hitting jumps and bumps, the design of the sled helped to absorb the impact from landing. It is also durable enough for 200+ pounds, and easy to steer. The other reviewers said it was a cheap quality that only lasted the first use before either the steering wheel or brakes broke. They also said it was extremely hard to assemble due to the very rigid materials.
Sled five: Pelican Sizzler
The reviewers said the tow rope made it easier to use when it came to carrying it up the hill, something the parents much appreciated. The handles allow the rider to steer, but not very well, and the handlebars that serve as brakes look like handles to hold while not going down the hill, so you brake when you don't want to (Design flaw!). They also reviewed that it fills with snow, and doesn't go down the hill very smoothly (if at all). This was for sure the least favored design of all the sleds that I studied.
Because of our lack of snow and it being so early in the season, I was unable to partake in the activity of sledding, so I decided to pull from past experiences. When I was younger, my siblings and I would sled down the hill in front of my dad's house in Afton. There were trees everywhere, but we were good at carving out pathways through the trees, and we always ended up in the snowbanks in the ditch close to the road. With a hill that steep, it was necessary to have some kind of buffer at the end of the hill. I always wanted to go second or third, because I remember the first person to go (we had the typical plastic sleds with a tow rope and just about no other features) had to struggle to create a path, resulting in a slow, uneventful ride down the hill. The second and third riders got to ride in the track, going faster each time. I remember always wanting my brother to pull me up the hill in the sled (it never happened!) but it would have been possible considering there was a rope on the sled. It made it easier for us to haul things around when we weren't using the sleds for sledding.
I noticed a pattern in people wanting the sleds to be universal in age, so kids could use it safely but adults could also use it a little more roughly. Also, I noticed that people want to go as fast as possible and have the option to steer and brake as needed. I think the next step I need to take is decide on a target market for the sled, or if I'm going to try to marked to everyone (kids and adults). From there, I can decide on the most important latent needs, and see where that takes me!