Multimodal Technologies and Interaction (Jan 2022)

Reducing the Gap between Mental Models of Truck Drivers and Adaptive User Interfaces in Commercial Vehicles

  • Lasse Schölkopf,
  • Camilla Gatto von der Heyde,
  • Anna Sprung,
  • Frank Diermeyer

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 14
p. 14


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Whether or not a product matches the user’s mental model and therefore his understanding of how it works influences the perceived usability. Therefore, it is beneficial if an interface is based on the user’s initial mental model, hence it works just as expected. If it contradicts preexisting models, operating errors and frustrated users are to be expected. This work proposes a method to increase the probability of correspondence between a developed product and the user’s mental model by addressing a common source of error in the product development process: Product designers assuming their own mental model matches the user’s. The process was demonstrated using the example of an adaptive user interface for commercial vehicles. A questionnaire was used to identify the underlying dimensions of the user group’s mental model of adaptive user interfaces. By conducting two expert workshops and a user survey with 75 truck drivers, a questionnaire consisting of 37 items and four dimensions was constructed. Thereby, the initial mental model of truck drivers regarding an adaptive user interface for commercial vehicles was determined.