Wellbeing in the car

Funded research project by Matthias Laschke, Kai Eckoldt and Marc Hassenzahl | 2011 (12 months)
In cooperation with BMW Research and Technology | Dr. Josef Schumann

Car manufacturers are experts in designing driving experiences. They know all the details about stimulation – i.e. acceleration, the sound of an engine and to drift in curves. But wellbeing in the car goes beyond merely driving. In order to address the full range of basic psychological needs we explored the car in depth. For instance, the car is a social place to experience relatedness. While driving across the street we pass friends that live next to our journey. In order to relatedness (i.e. wellbeing), the car could show me that passing friends. Moreover it could give me the opportunity to say ‘hallo’. the car, as an interactive technology could provide opportunities and systems to feel related to loved ones.

The present project was intended to explore the car from an Experience Design perspective. Therefore we created a collection of eight basic psychological needs based on e.g. Hassenzahl (2010) and Sheldon (2001). To make use of this collection for research and design we added product attributes, describing sketches and quotes, and images of conceivable situations in the car. Everything was summarized in a booklet. Additionally we created eight videos describing each need in detail.

The booklet

Need Cards (in German and English)

also by Eva Lenz and Sarah Diefenbach



Hassenzahl, M. (2010). Experience Design: Technology for All the Right Reasons (Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics). (J. M. Carroll, Ed.) (p. 100). Morgan and Claypool Publishers.

Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Kim, Y., & Kasser, T. (2001). What Is Satisfying About Satisfying Events ? Testing 10 Candidate Psychological Needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(2), 325–339.