What is this project about?
X-Point reimagines the automotive design process to go beyond styling, leveraging contextual research and experience-led synthesis to inform rich experiences for meaningful autonomous mobility futures.
What is the car design process today?
Car design centers users around the Hip point (H-Point), an imaginary physiological parameter, putting functional usage over holistic user experience. I make the argument that it is a human factor that controls our behavior.
From a design process stand-point, the car design process lacks integrating(and most times conducting) in-depth contextual research to do design exploration off of.
Leveraging a different research and synthesis approach:
What did the study reveal?
What emerged was not just experiential desires but the understanding of how Motives and Forces were guiding passengers' decisions for activities. Experiences are the result of our activities and hence the effects of motives and forces is critical to analyze from a designer's point of view.
I built a visualization tool using open-source frameworks like Nodebox Live to help designers understand the relevant motives and forces for reported activities and also a way to add the designer's hypothesis about a new or envisioned experience. Click on the image below to view the live version.
Does this lead to new design outcomes? Can it help designers break away from a self-driving car?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: Follow along below.
I tested the applicability of the synthesis as fodder for mobility experience ideation. A new entity was envisioned to avoid contemporary organizational design practices and business strategies to influence the design outcomes. I call it Commyoute.
I recruited five designers from different disciplines and backgrounds (car designers, transportation designers, environment designers and industrial designers) to use the above research and context to think of meaningful mobility experiences. The ideas were not looking just the physicality of the vessel but also how it intelligently understands the goals of different experiences and activities.
We worked together for a design sprint and some of the outcomes are shared below.
So what's next? How would the language of motives and forces evolve to be part of a design process?
The validity of Experience Sampling and Activity Theory in the mobility experience design domain led me to think of a cyclical design process that helps build an evolving understanding of the user context. As we evolve our understanding of the world we live in through every moment, why should our designed entities be un-intelligently static in their understanding of us (a.k.a dumb)?