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The user in charge of the creative process

The user in charge of the creative process

Wednesday, 22 de November de 2017

Meet the FCA “User Experience” area, created to seek consumers’ point of view when creating new products and services

“User Experience” is a term that has become quite popular, especially in the area of design. The concept is simple, but no less revolutionary. It means developing a product from the consumer’s perspective, based on usability tests and a lot of research. In other words, a methodology that gives the consumer the command of the creation process.

Fábio Matsuda (leader) and Juliana Silva (analyst) are part of the FCA’s User Experience team (also known as “UX”), which was created just over a year ago, and the only one in the segment of automakers to be present at Interaction South America (ISA), one of the most important conferences on User Experience and Design in Latin America, held in early November in Florianopolis (SC). The work of Matsuda and Juliana is “to think as the user thinks” and, thus, anticipate opportunities to improve the company’s solutions.

“Decisions taken at a meeting table, from personal observations, don’t always work or don’t meet the needs of consumers,” says Juliana. “We saw a loophole to improve people’s interaction with cars. The design area of an automotive company is usually very closed because of the secrecy involved regarding new models, so we brought in a new logic, “explains Matsuda.

The UX team has designers, engineers and even psychologists, focused on the study of human behavior. They seek to understand consumers’ mental models and how they relate to products. When a product and / or solution needs to be validated, the area builds prototypes that anticipate the customer’s point of view. More complex solutions are put to the test in real and simulated environments.

The participants in the evaluations are selected specifically according to the profile of each project. They use systems / solutions while driving and are observed by researchers. In addition to the comments, the UX team is attentive to the reactions of the participants during the interaction with the product, “because people do not always talk about what they are feeling,” says Juliana.

The performance with digital interfaces is a focus of the User Experience team. Matsuda recalls that the area was born from the creation of the Live On system, whose functionality is to promote the connectivity of the car with the driver’s cell phone. We tested it with more than 40 people. The work continued even after the launch, when we promoted new evaluations in search of feedback”, he recalls. Evaluations are also run in a virtual environment. Next week, activities officially begin with the vehicular dynamics simulator (link para pauta) at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC).

Another project in which the User Experience department was heavily involved was the creation of the smartphone application for Argo and Toro owners (link para pauta). The newly released app brings a variety of information, such as the user manual and even direct chat with FCA, to improve the user experience.

As a designer major, Matsuda believes that the creative process is essential in their area, but only holds true when it meets the needs of consumers. “It’s a concept of user empowerment,” he says. “It is not enough to import technologies. You have to adapt them by understanding the expectations of the Brazilian consumer and know if he/she can use all the resources in the car. You can’t assume that everyone has the same level of knowledge about tools as an engineer might have, for instance, “he argues.

“If the user does not understand how a feature operates, this is a design problem. Understanding the perspective of the consumer makes all the difference in the process and in the satisfaction of the user “, adds Luciana.

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