Posts Tagged 'cars'

The UX Characteristics of Cars

I was chatting with a couple of colleagues at work a few days ago about the “user experience” of cars, so I decided to run it through all ten of the characteristics.

  • Informational: The amount of information a car gives its driver is intentionally brief (compared to the amount of information it gives a technician who plugs in a diagnostic tool).
  • Actionable: Cars are meant to be driven – not just sat in. They actively support lots of actions.
  • Social: Driving a car is an individual experience. Some cars support social interaction by integrating features like curved mirrors so the driver can see backseat passengers and hands free phones, but that’s about all.
  • Personal: While cars are almost completely generic, some do have a few interesting personal features. My old BMW recognized my key fob from my wife’s and adjusted the seats, mirrors, AC and radio settings when unlocked (I loved this feature!)
  • Scoped: Cars have a fairly narrow scope, they get you from A to B, they move up the scale a little when they start to introduce things like DVD players, integrated phones, etc.
  • Learnable: Car controls are optimized for frequent, repeated use by self-directed, expert users.  That’s why people take lessons (with experts) to learn.
  • Configurable: Cars are not highly configurable (once you’ve bought one – the experience of buying one is more configurable).  You can move the seats forward/back/up/down, fold some seats and preset the radio but everything else is fixed.
  • Adaptive: Cars mostly exhibit static behavior, however there are a couple of interesting adaptive examples here.  Some cars are equipped with “adaptive steering” which turns the car more sharply at lower speeds and less at higher speeds when the steering wheel is turned the same amount.  My BMW had an adaptive automatic gearbox – it learned the driving style of the driver and adjusted its gear changes accordingly.
  • Playful: Driving a car can be a fun experience because of the thrill, excitement and danger they offer. A colleague of mine also mentioned a hybrid (I forget which) that praises the driver for an economical trip.
  • Impartial: The driving experience is fairly unbiased, cars don’t try to influence the choice of destination, for example. However, I suppose the nature of the car (Ferrari vs Mini-van) does influence the driving style!
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charUX tweets

  • New post: The Experience of a Live Conference vs a Recorded Video. charux.com 10 years ago
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  • @daveixd Yeah, the iPhone kindle might be interesting to add. 10 years ago
  • @daveixd great minds .... ;-) 10 years ago
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