The temporality of in-vehicle user experience - exploring user experiences from past to future

Cars are nowadays equipped with numerous interactive systems, aiding the driver by providing safety warnings, driving information, support, connectivity and entertainment. Traditionally in the field of in-vehicle system design, the focus of the automotive industry been on safety, i.e. on distraction measures and usability. To ensure competitiveness, however, attention is now being further directed towards experiential values of the systems, collected under the umbrella term of ‘user experience’ (UX). Whereas previous research of in-vehicle technology focused predominantly on numeric, momentary studies of experiences, user experience appears to be a much more complex topic than what can be understood from evaluative numbers from a short period of use. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to knowledge of the temporality of user experience, using in-vehicle systems as an object of study. Following an analysis of existing theoretical frameworks, three empirical studies are conducted. The studies address users’ past, present and (expectations on) future experiences. As an aid to stimulate in-depth, rich reflection on experiences, all three studies contained creative elements. In order to include research on expectations, a methodology for prospective UX research was developed, called ‘setting the stage for future automotive experiences’. The thesis presents a model including the sequences of aquaintancing, using and transforming. The three sequences identified in the model are connected to different experience aspects (such as aesthetics, social relatedness, ease-of-use, stimulation, trust and attachment). By breaking down the temporality of user experience into sequences, it is suggested that designers and researchers can be helped in understanding and approaching experiences at different stages. The inclusion of the transformative aspects of using artefacts over time expands the taxonomy on user experience from the direct experiences to also include the experiences that have effect daily life over longer periods of time. A more complex relation was found than typically present in UX theory and empirical research, indicating a need to expand research tools and frameworks to further include temporal and ecological factors.

Ingrid Pettersson
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Safer – Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre

SAFER is the open innovation arena where researchers and expertise work together to create safe mobility. Our traffic safety approach covers people, vehicles and the infrastructure – and together we contribute to safer road transports and smarter, more sustainable cities.

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