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Driving: The Emotional Experience and Automotive Design

Rafael Gomez , Vesna Popovic , Sam Bucolo

This paper focuses on the experience design approach in respect to automotive design. The literature review indicates that eliciting appropriate positive emotions during interaction is central to experience design.

To investigate this, an exploratory study was conducted focusing on the driver’s experience during interaction with the vehicle interface in a real driving situation. The study is based on a data triangulation approach including interviews, observations, and think-aloud protocol. Participants were asked to perform specific tasks while driving. During the drive they were video and audio taped. Also, they were interviewed before and after driving. The aim was to identify aspects of the driving experience that affected their emotions in a positive or
negative manner.

The outcome of this study provides encouraging findings, identifying aspects of design that enhance and/or detract from the driving experience. Results suggest that context and situation have a dominant impact on the driving experience. It appears that any negative feelings are magnified if usability problems occur in high traffic situations. If this occurs driver perceives the entire experience as negative. However, if negative feelings arise when problems occur in low traffic situations, the overall experience is not affected. If no usability problems occur during the drive the overall experience appears to stay neutral.

The paper concludes with implications of the findings to future design of driving interfaces and outlines further study directions.


design and emotion, automotive design, observational analysis, Experience Design