For successful new product development, it is necessary to understand the customers' holistic experience of the product beyond traditional task completion, and acceptance measures. This paper describes research in which ninety-eight UK owners of luxury saloons assessed the feel of push-switches in five luxury saloon cars both in context (in-car) and out of context (on a bench). A combination of hedonic data (i.e. a measure of ‘liking’), qualitative data and semantic differential data was collected. It was found that customers are clearly able to differentiate between switches based on the degree of liking for the samples' perceived haptic qualities, and that the assessment environment had a statistically significant effect, but that it was not universal. A factor analysis has shown that perceived characteristics of switch haptics can be explained by three independent factors defined as ‘Image’, ‘Build Quality’, and ‘Clickiness’. Preliminary steps have also been taken towards identifying whether existing theoretical frameworks for user experience may be applicable to automotive human–machine interfaces
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