2. Literature Review
3. Media Scan
Cars are confusing machines. For something that a lot of us operate nearly every single day, most people have no idea how exactly they work.
When I bought my first car in 2021, I had to deal with a significant amount of issues right from the start. Within the first month of owning my prized possession, I had replaced an engine and nearly every single spark plug and fuse. During times when something would go wrong, I had no idea what to think–except that my car was going to blow up!
I hated that I felt powerless. I was too intimidated to try and figure out what was going on by myself.
Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide
This project would not have been possible without the help of Patrice Banks and her book Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide.
This book taught me the ins and outs of car maintenance in a way I could actually understand.
While learning about cars, I charted the car maintenance experience by dividing mechanical issues by three parts: what happens in the car, how the car is communicating, and what the driver should do.
Yellow = what happens in the car
Blue = how the car is communicating
Green = what the driver should do
After reviewing preexisting car maintenance apps, I discovered there was an opportunity to create an app that delivers information to assist users in understanding and caring for their car.
Some of the other useful features I found were maintenance reminders, keeping track of expenses, and service histories.
I spoke with 15 friends, classmates, and other reachable people for 10-15 minutes about things that have gone wrong with their cars.
Many of them experienced trouble figuring out what was wrong with their car and had moments of fear or panic when it came time to address the problem. Even when they did take their car in for repairs, they faced overwhelming amounts of information and impatient mechanics.
Respondents were asked
open-ended questions about their experiences with car maintenance as well as what they would want out of a car maintenance app.
1. Rank yourself (from 1-5) on your car knowledge.
2. Describe a time when something went wrong with your car.
3. How did you know something was wrong?
4. Have you ever looked at your owner's manual, usually stored in the glove box?
5. Where do you take your car for maintenance?
6. What features would you like to be part of an app that assists you with car maintenance?
Subject Matter Expert Interviews
I spoke with Patrice Banks and Mark from Valentino's Car Care in Columbus, Ohio about what people don't know about their cars and what they should know.
Interviewees and survey respondents presented themselves as parts of distinct groups.
The target audience consists of those with the most basic knowledge. This includes "In the Dark," "Family Friendly," and "Self-Starter" users.
All my research accumulated to this final statement of intent.