What Drivers Really Want: Investigating Dimensions in Automobile User Needs
Dimitrios Gkouskos, Carl Jörgen Normark, Sus Lundgren


Understanding what users need, as opposed to what they say they need, can be a challenge. In order to better address users’ true needs, two consecutive methods were used in this study: Future Workshops and Repertory Grid Technique. The Future Workshops—where 21 participants designed for two different future scenarios—opened up for inscribing need expressions and possibilities into five futuristic automobile concepts. These concepts were used as a basis for the Repertory Grid, a technique where users compare objects, describing properties that they find to be important or significant. In this study, 78 participants provided 390 constructs of properties, which were refined to 19 dimensions relevant to user needs. Two study measures, Evaluative Ability and Descriptive Richness, indicate which methods to use when exploring the need dimensions further. Finally, the analysis of the constructs and dimensions point towards how three aspects of vehicles and driving are emerging: how novel technology should, or should not, support driving; how the automobile can be seen as something else than just a means of transportation, and how an automobile could be a part of a greater collective of vehicles.

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