This human-centered design project was a sixteen-week design research project that I led with CCA graduate students for Roland Sands Design, a motorcycle safety gear company. Our brief was to use human centered design techniques to research and develop a product based on the needs and opportunities our research revealed.
Interaction Design for the Self Driving Car
In an age where commerce is being redefined by the network
To identify and understand the design problems that come with the fast-approaching world of autonomous vehicles.
The Quick Start Guide, a design fiction that helped to focus and share our research on the human experiences within the complicated ecosystem of an autonomous vehicle interaction.
Working with the design consultancy Near Future Laboratory, we used a seemingly counterintuitive research strategy (creating the user manual for a nonexistent car) to speculate on how interaction design could meet the new challenges posed by self-driving automobiles.
Altering advertisements and news created a good foundation for our research, pushing us to think of unique ways in which an autonomous vehicle might alter our day to day.
We began by charting a massive amount of known data points and needs relating to self-driving automobiles. Using these to focus in on specific points interaction that offered problems or opportunities. We expanded these points to create the design fiction that is the Quick Start Guide. This oblique method created a highly informative document revealing many of the opportunities that will arise when designing the interactions of this new type of automobile.
This Quick Start Guide Design Fiction was a natural way to focus on the human experiences around complicated systems. The Quick Start Guide implies a larger ecosystem that indeed may be quite complex. It also allows one to raise a topic of concern without resolving it completely — often an approach that's necessary in order to not be bogged down in details before it's necessary. For example, mentioning that it costs more to park your car rather than sending it back on the roadway as a taxi is a way to open a conversation about such a possibility and its implications for reclaiming space used by parking garages.
The most significant insight from this project is that autonomous vehicles will likely be more valued for their ability to smoothly interface and earn money with networked commerce than for their mechanical performance.
Interested in seeing more of the Quick Start Guide? Buy it here from Near Future Laboratory.