Humanizing Technology through Design — Thomas Stovicek
Thank you! I'm really excited to be here today and talk about designing mobility experiences for people and talk about a little bit about what we're doing at Volvo and how we go through that process and how design can help. If you can put up the slides I will take you through - okay there we go - So my name is Thomas I'm leading UEx at Volvo, we've had the organization now for a year we've come together um with a number of UEx professionals that were within the company but we decided to bring them together because we felt that we can make better experiences. I've been at other companies like Facebook, Nokia, Microsoft I'm bringing a lot of that experience into designing new types of experiences that are happening in the automotive industry, in car companies. So I'm here to talk about how the discipline of design can help the evolving world of mobility. So, first we should ask or we can ask What is mobility? We talked
a little bit about that this morning, but the definition I use is that "it's the ability to move freely and easily" around and that's a goal that we have at Volvo. But if you look at the broader sense of things there's obviously different things that help of course there's walking, but there's vehicles in boats, planes, trains, cars, there's bicycles and other things. But when you look at what people are doing and that's the important part when we're thinking about how we're designing these experiences, in people's daily lives they're running errands, they're going to and from work and school, they're visiting family and friends or they're doing short trips and those are important needs and that's what drives the choice of mobility service that people use - oh they lost their slides - And I think what's important or the way I think about is the car became one of the primary methods for personal mobility, it was convenient it was always there and it was easy to provide mobility services for people. So if we go back and look at how that started it obviously started with the before cars had engines and it was the horse and buggy and that transformed the car was invented in 188 and then it really started to become more popularized in the early 20th century model T produced by Ford was an example of a first mass manufactured car so it was available to more people and it was more affordable. So technologies is evolved and changed
in the 60s cars started to look more like this but in this form factor something that stayed for a while and so even now cars look similar though they have different types of technologies, different safety regulations those kinds of things and people are doing the same sorts of things with those vehicles. But what happened a few years ago is new technology started coming up with the smartphone revolution in the 2000s new technologies were available for the cars to really change some of those behaviors and that's really what's transforming the industry. Now I feel like now there's an intersection of a number of different future possibilities and number of different technologies that are all coming together at one point that really starts to change what personal mobility can be and provides some of the challenges that we have as designers and as an industry, so I'll dive into these a little bit more. First is the digital and connectivity aspects so
you know with smartphones and personal computing going smaller more mobile and faster that is starting to appear in the car people are bringing their phones into the car android, apple other companies are making your products and services even platforms available in the car and so that's creating the ability for new possibilities, new types of interactions and experiences within the car it also brings with it potential complexity there's with more more things comes more complexity, more information being presented to the user and that's of course a challenge when you're driving a vehicle; cars are now connected to the internet and through network services that's also bringing different types of communications and capabilities into the car but again more complexity more chances of distraction. Lots of technologies around assisted and autonomous driving these are technologies that will help people drive more safely, protect people maybe catch mistakes that the drivers didn't have on the assistant side and the technology is slowly evolving to provide more driving on behalf of the user and when you can get into a vehicle and not have to pilot it and you become more of a passenger that it changes the whole experience of the vehicle in your car. Electrification is coming into play when we walked through that history of cars it was all largely based on fossil fuels and now and the infrastructure that supported fueling your car to be able to get around it is now fairly ubiquitous and people don't have to think about it but with electrification that infrastructure changes and people need to learn new processes and we need to build new infrastructure but that technology, and I still don't i don't think we know exactly where it's going, it provides different possibilities in terms of the forms of the product and possibly the forms of the services and experiences that we can build into and around the vehicles. And there's a lot of external factors. Climate is one big one that we talk about and that has an impact on mobility through the concerns that people have and the legislation that is coming around to which affects the industry and that affects people's buying choices and what they need in the car that's also transforming urban spaces, a lot of cities are creating new rules and regulations for how and when certain modes of mobility can operate in the in the city so, some city centers are not allowing cars at certain times and those sorts of things but urban spaces are also becoming smarter there's lots of experiments out there with different types of technologies, data sharing interconnected systems to make mobility smarter and more efficient and that of course is going to impact the capabilities of the digital connected car and provide potentially more complexity of course depends how we design the experiences around that. And lastly there's a change in business models. Throughout last hundred
years, it was typically you would buy the car maybe get a loan and that was the way of owning the car and you would pay for maintenance and those kinds of things, there were car rental and other possibilities but that didn't change for a long time but recently there have been different business models that have been started looking to more all-inclusive, lower risk subscriptions which changes the demographic of finances for people trying to get personal mobility services. Car sharing really change how we think about rent renting or borrowing a car and then right handling has become more predominant changing the face of like taxes but that all of those kinds of services also change how you will interact with the vehicle what that vehicle needs to do and potentially changes the ownership models. And of course customer expectations around or what services they buy are also changing and you hear a lot about it in urban cities that younger people are not buying cars in the same way that they have different expectations on mobility how how they perform some of the their daily chores and needs. So lots of changing influences in our society today so there's a change in those technologies coming into the personal mobility sector there's a change in the society, but overall the basic user needs haven't changed people are still using mobility to go to and from work, for school to run errands, to go visit friends and family it's just the technologies that are providing different capabilities and the needs of society to provide mobility in different ways and solve product problems. So when we think about how design and design processes can help it's really looking at it from a human point of view and starting to understand problems, I think about design as problem-solving and understanding you know the new challenges that are facing the industry and people today and how to craft that in an engaging way.
So in Volvo we talk about a process around learn to find build and evaluate at many points in that process very light framework that helps us look at small/large problems and I'll take you through a few examples of how we can apply that to some of the problems that we have today and talk about what that might mean in the future and it's all about trying to understand where the problems are in solving frictions in designing for simplicity, because I think one of the big challenges with this point in time is you have all of these new technology capabilities coming into place that offers a lot of potential complexity and we really need to think about if we're designing for humans how to simplify that in an elegant way and make it less complicated for people. So we often start off what we call journey thinking which is a very tangible example when you used to have a car in the past you would get the keys, you would unlock the car, you would go and sit in the car, you would start the car, you would shift into drive and you would go on your very way. Nowadays you have to check with electrification you might want to check the charge level, you need to go get your keys, you can approach the car, the car will unlock itself so that's convenience you need to unplug the car if it was charging you need to pull put the cable away there's more steps get in the car plug in your phone because people want to be connected to their their digital media when they're in the car and start the car, set up your directions because people are using maps to go places nowadays start the radio or immediate shift to drive and go away. And so this is a very tangible example of journey. Thinking about all of all of the different steps and we do that because you want to understand where are their conveniences like in today with a lot of today's cars you don't need to unlock the car there's more automated security devices there's a convenience but then we add frictions by having to put cables away or other things and so it's through this kind of mapping where we can understand where there's opportunities for improving experiences and thinking about how we can deep dive on some of those problems and here's an example of looking at a broader journey and mapping that out. And why I think
this is important is with this intersection of all of these different technologies and societal changes that daily journey becomes very important and to really understand what humans need in their daily lives what are their emotions what's really going to impact them. This kind of mapping activity helps us stay focused on the core goals of that of the user they want they need to get to work on time or they need to go visit family and friends how can you remove as many of those frictions as possible so that it's a seamless journey. And through then in the next phase once we've identified where all those challenges and frictions are we can look for ways of simplifying here we can use design methods you know creative workshops brainstorming all those things which many of you are familiar with to take all of the different capabilities, layer them on top of each other and simplify them and just keep in mind that primary goal of getting the user to the store or getting them to perform their tasks for the day and when you layer on that journey thinking now we can start because of some of these capabilities we can actually start to ask ourselves Where does certain information live? or Where does a certain task need to be made? It used to be that it always evolved around the car but now because cars are connected you can connect your phone, you can connect to other devices in your ecosystem and so we as designers have new tools to think about how to solve problems for people and you can solve them in a different way because now people can address one of those friction points before they leave home so they can decide maybe while they're having their morning coffee, what route they take to go to work or where they're going to buy a thing so when they get in the car they don't have to worry about directions or maps.
And then simplifying things so Volvo we're really trying to take all of that complexity and put it into an HMI interface which is how people interact with that car but put it do it in a simple enough way that we're exposing only what's needed to the user at the time so they can focus on that core experience. So simplification is really important but it's tying it always tying it to the core needs of the user and of course the design processes around is about iteration so you can only get there by constantly revising your ideas and we of course work through sketches, through iteration, through prototyping to really refine products and services for people and that's how you you get to simplification I think especially when there's so many levels of possibilities and technologies and possible touch points you need to go very broad in your ideation and you do that in early phases in design through sketching through low fidelity prototyping before you get to something that's really high fidelity. And then the last phase trying prototyping evaluating my saying is that you can't predict how interconnected systems work because they've all been designed separately until you plug things in and try them out and so the more complex the system is the more important it is to continuously try as much in real time and real technology as possible to really understand where some of the nuances are of the frictions and how that's changing the human method of interaction how that's changing human perception that ultimately leads to people being able to perform their tasks. When I was at places like Blackberry, again very very complex systems, that were coming together to enable basic mobility and once you put them all together you had very unexpected behaviors in how notifications appeared what information appeared when etc etc and those are very important at that design level to make sure that we get right you can only do that through trying things and so at Volvo we build prototypes of various levels to try things out as much as we can throughout the process and I think with this intersection of all of these new technologies and capabilities and all of these societal changes we need to find ways of trying these things out, trying out new solutions, trying out parts of ideas so that we can understand better where those friction points appear because that process that we have learned define design isn't an ongoing process and you can only do so much in your journey thinking in the early stage you have to go out and investigate in real time and it's like I said I think with the new challenges that are facing us today it's even more important to do that so we need to find those opportunities.
And again gather the the right kinds of information and data to support what it is that we need to do to really solve these problems for people in a humanistic way and always keeping the user in the center of what our solutions will be. So in summary, mobility is going through a major change especially when we look at the automotive industry and some of the new technologies and societal trends that are facing us today but the basic human needs haven't it's just how are we going about our daily lives, what do we want to do during and leading up to up to those needs getting to and from work as a family and what we need to do is really understand that we need to simplify all the complexity, understand where those frictions are by looking across all of the different touch points complete journey of the user to really identify where are those points where we can make it easier for users and keep them focused on their core tasks and I think that that will help us make mobility services that are more seamless and easy to use and get more traction from the world. So thank you!