the design lab


ux research intern


oct. 2018 - june 2019


hyundai motors





00 background

the uc san diego design lab, in collaboration with the uc san diego contextual robotics institute, uc san diego speculative design and hyundai motors, engaged in two parallel exploratory investigations related to current and future urban mobility.


These rapid studies examined the possible futures of first/last mile mobility as well as autonomous vehicle (robotaxi) in-transit rider experiences. We leveraged the uc san diego campus, a large and diverse “small city,” of approximately 60,000 people: 30,000 students and 30,000 employees. 

01 research methods

the research conducted by our team uses a combination of people-centered ethnographic research, a systems perspective and speculative design ideation methods. these studies included collection and analysis of observational field data, day-in-a-life, diagramming and journey maps interviews, multiple ideation, brainstorming and theater sessions, and, finally, low-fidelity simulator prototyping in which wizard-of-oz interventions were tested.  

02 research findings

in the micro-mobility study, the starting assumption, that single micro-mobility options constitute the ‘first and last mile’ of a typical route failed to accurately represent the daily lives of local students. The research revealed a dynamic and rapidly-changing array of micro-mobility platforms involved in a complex, cognitive selection process.


for in-transit study, it is commonly assumed that in-transit experience consists of sequentially organized discrete activities that are mostly planned in advance of a given trip (and easily mediated by a single dashboard). our exploration on and around the uc san diego campus suggests quite the contrary, trips are significantly different based on four interrelated categories - triptype (tt), social-spatial (sosp) relations, activities (ac), and stuff (st). this framework is robust enough to support the construction of experimental scenarios, evaluate field observations, and guide design efforts. 

research findings soon to be published by colleen emmenegger. read more about her previous work here!