Designing for Frustration and Disputes in the Family Car

Designing for Frustration and Disputes in the Family Car

Chandrika Cycil (Department of Computer Science, Brunel University, Uxbridge, London, UK), Mark Perry (Department of Computer Science, Brunel University, Uxbridge, London, UK) and Eric Laurier (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijmhci.2014040104


Families spend an increasing amount of time in the car carrying out a number of activities including driving to work, caring for children and co-ordinating drop-offs and pick ups. While families travelling in cars may face stress from difficult road conditions, they are also likely to be frustrated by coordinating a number of activities and resolving disputes within the confined space of car. A rising number of in-car infotainment and driver-assistance systems aim to help reduce the stress from outside the vehicle and improve the experience of driving but may fail to address sources of stress from within the car. From ethnographic studies of family car journeys, the authors examine the work of parents in managing multiple stresses while driving, along with the challenges of distractions from media use and disputes in the car. Keeping these family extracts as a focus for analysis, we draw out some design considerations that help build on the observations from our empirical work.
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Frustration And Driving Conditions

Research on frustration in the car in the past has focused on studies of cognitive overload (Uchiyama, Kojima, Hongo, Terashima, & Wakita, 2002) and the effects of aggression and mental state on driving behaviour . Therefore it is observed as an interplay between the mental state of the driver and the prevailing road conditions (Underwood, Chapman, Wright, & Crundall, 1999). Difficult driving conditions have been more often associated with drivers’ angry or aggressive responses in the car while encountering congested roads and long journeys. Therefore, the focus of past inquiries has been based on the driving activity itself. In our study we do not directly measure frustration in the car (as this would be challenging to do in real time driving), instead we describe from empirical ethnographic data some of the sources of frustration that can contribute to stress for drivers in the family car. Previous studies in the HCI literature have spoken in detail of the distractions experienced in cars and have led to useful insights on how technology and car design may support drivers better (Burnett, 2011).

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