Fully Autonomous, Fully Immersed
For the last five weeks I’ve been a part of an intensive experiment learning the latest in user experience (UX) design from remote usability testing to rapid prototyping. The goal of which is to transform from a guy who likes to draw pretty concert posters into a UX designer who can diagnose usability issues, propose research-based changes, and draw pretty prototypes.
The UX field is a new/not-new field, that appears to have many roots in the automotive industry. (Google the Kano Model.) Why? How come? What I would like to learn more about is the history of automotive design to see what can be carried over to my UX career. Additionally I am interested in automotive design in the same way that I am interested in theme park service design, video game design and virtual reality UX, these are all environments where the user is fully immersed in the experience.
What does that mean for the future of cars once they become autonomous? How will this change the interior of cars? Currently they are designed for comfort, driver performance, and safety. Cut out the need for driver performance and the car becomes a safe, comfortable living room. A place where we can become fully immersed in something other than our safety. What tasks could we be doing in the car that we cannot while we drive? Type on laptop, cut food, play games on the Oculus Rift. These are all things we do at home. My guess however is that we'll likely fill that time with things we do at work.
For five years I was a delivery driver for a wonderful coffee bean company. I drove around the Twin Cities Metro Area to grocery stores and brought in 50-100 pounds of coffee through their backdoors. The orders were scanned in by a Receiver and then put on the shelves. I then wrote orders anticipating sales for the next week. An autonomous vehicle couldn't do the second half of my job, but it certainly can do the driving part, and I welcome it. What I want to know is, how will my employer use my time on the clock while a robot is chauffeuring me around town? Autonomous vehicles will be a disruptor. Now that we can be fully immersed in our work, while being driven around, new opportunities will emerge.
One of the neatest inventions is the pallet jack, it's simple, reliable, and it allows one person to move a thousand pounds of stuff easily. You see a lot of them in the backrooms of grocery stores and warehouses. What once took a team of people to push and lift, now only takes one person. You couldn't sell soda at grocery stores without a pallet jack. Soda/water is very heavy when compared to how cheap it is. In order to make a decent profit you've gotta move a lot of poundage and a giant labor force would make it unprofitable. What I'm trying to say is that the pallet jack was a disruptor like the autonomous vehicle and it created the opportunity to sell large heavy things all over town at an attractive price.
-Joel Lueders, UX Designer
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