Fresh out of university, Kevin Sanders started his career with a research position at Meaningful Interactions Lab in Leuven. We’ve asked him to share with us what his ambitions are for the project and what insights he can already reveal.
Meet Kevin Sanders, user interaction specialist at TMaaS, photo by Suzanne Hendrikse
What are you working on right now?
We are looking into the things that future users of our platform will find important. What are the needs of the traveller, with respect to receiving travel information.
Listening to travellers
I’ve designed a study where participants fill in a “mobility diary” – a set of cards on which you can write your travel plans and fill in your travel experiences after each journey. The participants will carry the set of cards with them for two weeks, afterwards I will interview each and every one of them personally to ask them about their experiences. The cards will be used as reminder of their activities, serving as concrete examples to discuss during the interview. Whenever possible, we will also be using a mobility tracking app (Moves) which will even further help us in mapping out the user behaviour.
Are people interested in taking part?
“Yes! More than 200 people signed up to be part of the end user research project. Out of the list of applicants, I selected 19 people with various ages, locations, travel behaviors and abilities. Later in the project we will reach out to the citizens of Ghent again and more people will be able to participate and share their feedback with us.”
Kevin not only works with the volunteers, he also asked his fellow team members to help him map out the user preferences.
“I’ve used my fellow project partners for a first trial run of my methodology. Already this gave us some ideas to report back to the development team. We identified the need to keep travellers informed of their route, even when there are no abnormalities or disruptions. We also learned that for some people, accurate information will act as a confidence booster when heading up the motorway.”
My goal is to put the citizen and their needs in the spotlights of the developers. This is the principle of user centered design.
What are your goals?
“I’m trying to push the boundaries of the project scope, because I believe that this is the only way we can really discover new insights. If you restrict your research too much, you can’t learn new things. My goal is to put the citizens and their needs in the spotlights of the developers following the principles of user-centered design. ”
What are you looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the co-creation sessions that we will be conducting with citizens for TMaaS. The first sessions will be starting in September 2018.
How do you go to work?
I usually walk to work. When I’m working at our co-working space in Ghent I take the train and walk to our office from there.
As part of his research, Kevin is looking into the numerous travel / route planner apps that are available worldwide. So we asked him, what’s new in your world?
What 3 words is a novel naming convention for geographical locations. It divides the globe into 3×3 meter squares that are all assigned a three-word combination. I found this when looking online for new apps and think it will be interesting to see how it will be used. It shows a lot of potential, both for end users and app developers, since it fills a gap between current naming conventions such as addresses and coordinates.
Kevin recently graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology as a Master in Human-Technology Interaction. Before that, he did a bachelor in ICT & media design. Traffic Management as a Service caught his attention because it is a perfect match with his academic background and personal interests. Also, he really liked the idea of working in a multidisciplinary team where business, universities and local governments work together on new innovative solutions.
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