Travelling from Fascination to New Meanings: Understanding User Expectations Through a Case Study of Autonomous Cars
Designers are continuously exploring and suggesting possible futures, often consulting user studies for insights to guide the process of inventing novel designs. However, user studies are typically employed retrospectively with little regard to future use, or face challenges for users to express relevant reflections on the future. In addition, users’ experiences of products are not stable over time and user studies typically do not sufficiently address the temporal aspects of future use. This paper uses autonomous cars as a case study with the aim of understanding characteristics of user expectations, highlighting the temporal aspects of expectations in particular. The study employed a qualitative, experimental, user research methodology encompassing 11 participants, encouraging participant reflection through enactment and drawing. From the results, expectations were structured around three temporal layers: acquaintancing, situated use and practice and meaning transformation. The model highlights and describes the temporal and transformative aspects of expectations. By breaking down the temporality of experience into layers, it suggests that designers and researchers can be helped to understand and approach experiences from the initial stages of development.
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