Design Reserach
Designing mobility for future generations
Client: Drive Sweden
Client: Drive Sweden
Role: UX Researcher
Year: 2019-2021
The project
There are problems related to the way we move, and a change is needed. However, the conversation keeps its attention around those already indoctrinated in the outdated culture. Attempts have been made, but new ways of inviting younger crowds to the table is still sought after. In a Drive Sweden-funded project named A Human Approach II, I designed and executed the Speculative Gaming Probe - a tool supported by simulation acting as a digital environment for the speculative mind.
Companies and research focus primarily on main segment customers and ”established” car users, which creates an echo chamber of needs and values that may not be fitting for coming generations, future business models or our planet’s sustainability. However, young people on the verge of adulthood are hard to reach. Hence, there is a need for designers to meet and include in new ways.
In this project, the team designed a Speculative Gaming Probe (SGP) in the form of a simulator that could act as a tool for people that aided their visual expression and verbal communication when presenting their mobility needs and values.
The SGP was then used by the research team and contributed to further knowledge about design and use of probes in design processes, and could also be used as research insights for a more design-oriented project (see O’mama mobility found in my online portfolio).
Main obstacle
The obstacle that enquired most in my growth as a designer was the enabling of letting people learn over time without interfering with their core values and needs. This required me to be aware of, and switch between, being a guide in questions related to simulator mechanics without enforcing my own thoughts on how people communicate. A practical tip for fellow design colleagues when presenting a new tool or method for users is to make room for this process that evolves over time. This means planning actual sessions before introducing what you want from a project perspective.

Creating a creative platform for the speculative mind

When designing for the future, we tend to miss out on details if we solely rely on visualising through verbal communication. To tackle this problem, I gave participants the possibility to use a modded version of a simulator by the name Cities: Skylines. The simulator was used as a way to concretise participants' visions and assist them in communicating what they thought was needed from a mobility perspective in a future city.

Virtual walkthroughs

The tool did not only visualise the visions, it also added the possibility for participants to show their city as guides in what I called "virtual walkthroughs". In this session, I could ask questions related to the project goal while participants could exemplify and use their constructions as visual queues with points of interest.

Users' perspective

Participants expressed a description of experiencing the SGP as an empowerment of privileges where they gained control over an alternative reality. But before this feeling of empowerment was experienced, participants had to learn the probe object in order to unleash their full power of constructing, demolishing, and re-building by learning the meta and macro levels of functions and mechanics within the game.