A Service Design to Assist People with Buying Used Cars



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This thesis was inspired by international students facing challenges buying used cars in the United States. Buying a used car can be a stressful experience for many people. For international students in particular, the challenge is augmented by factors such as language barriers, time pressures, etc. People buying used cars may experience stress due to different challenges or they may feel mentally paralyzed. Multiple decisions must be made during the buying process. The goal of this thesis was to develop a digital tool based on user-centered research and to design a process to assist people in performing proper inspections when choosing a used car. Based on the research there were opportunities to redesign an OBD2 scanner that fits in the scenario. Four phases of research were used to achieve these aims. In the first phase, a direction was determined by reviewing previous publications, conducting an online survey, and analyzing existing tools. This phase revealed the typical challenges that international students face when buying used cars. Furthermore, findings from this phase showed that performing a proper inspection can be difficult, as individuals must consult multiple resources. The information acquired during this process is not always understandable or memorable. One potential solution for this problem is to get digital assistance with inspection tips. Learning about the proper inspection could improve most people’s buying experience and help them make a vehicle selection. During the second phase, a mobile application and OBD2 (Onboard Diagnostics 2) scanner concept were developed as a means to improve the used car buying experience. These tools were designed to help the user find a reliable used car. Functions of the tools included descriptions of the inspection steps, tips, and assistance with locating nearby inspectors to assist users with car inspections. The mobile application was developed through three iterations and tested with potential users. Testing verified the usability of the mobile application and revealed the need for it to create a faster and more effective solution. Results were analyzed, and a final design was confirmed in the fourth phase. Through four phases of research, this study created an application and a tool that can help international students perform proper inspections and find a reliable used car.



International students, American car culture, Used car market, Used cars, Car inspection, OBD2 scanner, UI/UX