Over the past years, we have seen that the term ‘“experience’” has not only moved into all of our daily business vocabularies but has also become part of our professional teams. User Experience Designers or Service Designers are relatively new positions that have become a staple in all creative departments all around the world.
In the transportation industry, these new positions have only been partly accepted into innovative team structures. Many car design studios do not have an integrated UX team but view this area as sitting outside of the traditional physical world of car design. Things are certainly improving, but this silo mentality will likely prevail until the current generation of digital natives will move up into leadership positions. Why am I stating the obvious you may ask? The answer is simple. It shows how we all have to think beyond the current parameters when it comes to the transition from transportation to mobility. At the moment, I believe the majority of transportation design studios worldwide do not design their products based on experiences gained (whatever it might be) and translated into knowledge, but simply based on the presumed product requirements. A simple example: A car is designed around what is thought the customer wants, but shouldn’t it be designed for the environment it will exist in?
To understand this exact environment is one of the reasons why UX teams must be fully integrated into car design teams. I would even go a step further and advise and recommend transportation design leadership to hire non-car designers and creatives that will help them to understand their surroundings and physical environments even better. Imagine an architect being involved in an early stage (advanced) project to define the next vehicle. They would see the project from a different perspective that would massively enhance the creational process for an exterior proposal. Let’s take this further and include a city planner to understand what the vehicle is used for and how it is integrated into the infrastructure of the city. The car is built for the environment, not vice versa. Include an interior space designer or furniture designer in the creative process of a car interior to understand why a lounge in a hotel is comfortable, whereas it wouldn’t be in a car – understanding space by involving people who work with space on a day-to-day level.
Don’t get me wrong, these ideas are not anywhere close to being implemented in the production car process but we need to start thinking a bit more outside the box, include other creative sources into the transportation process to start to move towards what is nowadays called mobility. Otherwise, the physical design might be left behind and will only shape a shell.
If you want to find out how you can implement such a thought process into your creative department don’t hesitate to message me here on LinkedIn. I am more than happy to share some further ideas and of course help to develop it with you.