Works As Expected
When thinking about our products, we put in extra effort to create the easiest, most delightful experience possible. It’s why our helmets only have one button on them. We keep the same conventions throughout our product line so that if you’re an existing customer and get your hands on one of our new products, you know exactly how to operate it.
Of course it’s very difficult to unlock all of the product’s smart features with a single button, which is why the app is a very important part of the product. With the introduction of the bike lights, we’ve had to rethink quite a few things to still deliver on the Lumos experience.
The App Experience
Over the years, we’ve been getting a few requests here and there about supporting multiple helmets with our app, and whilst it’s certainly been on our backlog of things we’d like to implement, the truth is that we just haven’t had the resources and it’s been lower on the list of priorities.
With the introduction of the bike lights, we’re going from a single product, to a family of products, that will likely be used in tandem with each other. This means that supporting multiple products that are all synced to the app at the same time becomes a critical part of the whole setup. We’ve gone and rethought the architecture of the app to make this possible and it’s taken a bit of time as we wanted to get it right, but we’ve made a lot of progress and can confirm that the Lumos app will be supporting multiple products within the next few months.
For the bike lights, we wanted the app setup to be really familiar, with the options to check battery life, customise flash patterns and easily update the firmware when needed.
There is a much bigger component to the bike lights though as now the user will likely have multiple products set up and all syncing with each other. For this we needed a whole section dedicated just to syncing.
A really fun challenge when designing the app experience was how the user would be able to effortlessly assign and control all of their lights at the same time.
We tried a few different options and it’s really interesting how some formats work really well for certain types of people, whilst being a poor user experience for others as it requires them to remember a certain action or detail.
Ultimately, we ended up settling on a grid format, which is a lot more visual and allows the user to know exactly where they’ll either need to place their light once it’s set up, or if it’s already attached to their bike, will become obvious if it’s in the wrong position.
We’ve received some pretty strong positive feedback for this format, but would also love to hear what you think about it as we polish it up for a future release.
Charging without cables
I just need to put a warning in here, as this post is about to take a bit of a dive in terms of content.
As part of our effort to make the bike lights as durable as possible, we decided early on that we would do away with a charging port and push for wireless charging. The feedback we received regarding this feature was initially mixed and I’m sure many of you will be on the fence about it too, but let me explain the reasoning and then feel free to let me know how you feel about it.
As I mentioned, the initial reason we even considered this feature was to make the lights completely sealed so that there’s no way water would get in. We will be aiming to achieve an IPX rating of 6 to 7, which means you can dunk them in water and they’ll still work perfectly fine.
An additional benefit of wireless charging is that it allowed us to slim down the design by a few millimetres, which coupled with the more rounded, pebble-like form factor I mentioned in the previous post, feels really nice to hold in your hand. Granted, they’ll be mounted on your bike for the majority of the time, but you will also be removing them and carrying them around at some point as they’ll need to be recharged. It’s the small details that make a difference.
I can already hear some of you thinking ‘Oh no! Proprietary cables!’ and whilst our wireless charger will be proprietary, these bike lights use the universal Qi charging standard and so will be compatible with the majority of other wireless chargers out there. You can even charge them on your phone!
We also tested a twist mount vs a magnetic attachment and there’s just something really satisfying about dropping the bike light into its mount.
We were initially concerned about the attachment strength of a magnetic solution, but our rigorous stress testing has shown that the staying power of our intended design is solid and we’ve not experienced a single incident where the light has unintendedly detached from its mount.
The real benefit here is that it’s now really easy to just pop your lights in and get going. Similarly, you can detach all your lights within seconds when you park your bike up. No more fumbling around with twist locks.
The downside is that they can get stolen even quicker if you forget them on your bike. You can bet your thief is also going to appreciate the pebble-like feeling though.
I mentioned that the initial reception was quite mixed, but after our beta testers played around with them, we found that a fair amount changed their minds quite considerably.
So the main takeaway here is that the benefit of features like these are tough to convey without actually trying it out for yourself. We know that the feedback will be fairly lukewarm to these features, but without testing them in real life, it’s really tough to determine whether it’s an improvement or not. So we’re taking a small risk here and basing the inclusion of these features on the beta testing we’ve already conducted. Hopefully you love these features when you finally get your hands on your own set. I’d still like to hear all your opinions on these to really see if we’ve missed something big, so let us know if you have strong feelings about this.
A proprietary charger, you say
So, I know this sounds like trouble to a lot of you, and I completely understand the feeling, which is why it was a hard requirement to be able to charge these bike lights wherever you had wireless chargers. I know not all of you will have wireless chargers yet, but they’re becoming ubiquitous enough for us to feel like this isn’t really a proprietary charging solution anymore.
To be clear, we’ve moved away from proprietary charging cables and as you’ve seen with Ultra, have moved onto more universal connectors. We do not intend to go backwards, and so the wireless chargers that we ship will also use USB-C cables to power them.
The proprietary bit of the charger is this…
It’s not really a universal wireless charger. But we made this decision deliberately as universal wireless chargers are widely available everywhere so you’re free to pick whichever option you like.
For the bike light charger though, I wanted to make something a little more fun, since we were going to have to tool something for it anyway. I decided to go with a little alien sheep.
Confused? Cute? Ridiculous?
Why an alien sheep? I say, why not? Imagine having a few of these sitting on your desk whilst they charge. Conversation starters, for sure.
But the actual reason for creating a cradle was to address a pretty specific request from our beta testers if we were going to go ahead with wireless charging - that was charging on-the-go. We realised that it would be close to impossible to charge these using flat chargers, so we created a magnetic cradle that will allow you to plug it into a power bank, pop your light in, and throw it in your backpack and have the confidence to know that it’s charging away whilst you go about your business.
The extra alien legs I added as an option because I just couldn’t resist. If you don’t like them, they’ll also come with a more minimal rubber pad.
Let us know if you have more fun ideas around what to do with the cradle’s rubber base, we might be able to make it happen.
More changes based on your feedback
There have been a bunch of other small iterations and adjustments we’ve been making based on your responses which I’ll briefly highlight as this post has blown way past the suggested word limit (sorry, not sorry).
We’ve angled the handlebar end mounts for even better side visibility - we think the new versions look great! Let us know your thoughts too.
We also incorporated a rubber foot into the handlebar end mount so that you can lean your bike onto a wall without the light popping out.
We improved the button design by making it wider and protruding so that it’s now easier to press and has a nice tactile feel.
Some people have been talking about charging more than one at a time. We’re working on an accessory that allows this, but also doubles as a carry case. Here’s an initial render, but we’ll share more as progress on this accessory develops.
That’s all for now, but keep your feedback coming as we try to address as much as we can as we get closer to the final product. Hopefully you can see that we’re listening to all of your concerns and suggestions and are trying our best to address them either with the lights themselves, or future accessories / products.
We’re getting awfully close to being ready to launch these bike lights. In the next update I’ll talk about;
- Our plan for our pre-order launch
- The full range of accessories
- A sneak peak at some new helmets (if you’re following us closely, you may have noticed one of them already)
Until then, we’d love to start getting an idea of the demand for these lights and their accessories so would really appreciate if you could fill out this survey to answer a few questions we have before we plan out our go-to-market strategy. Thank you all for your input and following along with us this far!
Lumos Firefly is live on Kickstarter now! Enjoy up to 35% off with our Early Bird discount before the campaign ends.