Research for university: Interested in your views and opinions, (1 Viewer)

Feb 18, 2023
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research for uni
Good day,
Im a product design student at Bangor uni and I'm looking into what people would want, love and hate about camper homes, self built or pre-made etc.
Are there things that bug you?
are there things you couldn't live without?
do you wish there was something for ..
what function do you hate or love
what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary
what accidents happen the most

Absolutely any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Sara
 
OP
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Feb 18, 2023
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research for uni
Yes. Its required to as part of research to attempt to reach out to what would be real users of any product we design. We are required to find out anything we can to contribute to the ideas we put forward. Gaining inside from experienced people who know about a subject better than say myself so we can make an informed decision rather than a guess or an assumption.
thank you sara

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Oct 24, 2020
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Motorhomes are great for what they are designed to do.

But most motorhomes have some downtime, when they are sat idle on someone’s driveway.

I was frustrated that I had a decent sized Recreational Vehicle sat on my drive which wasn’t any help when I needed to move something bulky.

So I went down the van conversion route to make a decent and very comfortable campervan that provided a lot more flexibility, and can be reconfigured to carry a decent load when necessary.
 
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OP
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Feb 18, 2023
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research for uni
Motorhomes are great for what they are designed to do.

But most motorhomes have some downtime, when they are sat idle on someone’s driveway.

I was frustrated that I had a decent sized Recreational Vehicle sat on my drive which wasn’t any help when I needed to move something bulky.

So I went down the van conversion route to make a decent and very comfortable campervan that provided a lot more flexibility, and can be reconfigured to carry a decent load when necessary.
thank you
 
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suavecarve

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thank you
Knowing what i know, and thinking what you think you want to know and how to gain that information, I would be sorely tempted to contact Jim and see how his site (this forum) might be able to help you with membership conribution.

Best of luck

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Did your Tutor suggest this research/project?

Yes. Its required to as part of research to attempt to reach out to what would be real users of any product we design. We are required to find out anything we can to contribute to the ideas we put forward. Gaining inside from experienced people who know about a subject better than say myself so we can make an informed decision rather than a guess or an assumption.
thank you sara

So did your tutor offer you alternative projects?

Did your tutor understand how wide this project could be, in respect of the various uses that the phrase 'camper homes' could be put to, and that it could take you 3 years to complete the project? Because people have been debating this subject for years.

Please ask your tutor to come onto this forum and explain why he set you this project.
 
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Carol

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Good evening Sara, be careful how you use your replys as you only have 5 free posts then you won't be able to post anymore questions without joining which costs £20.
 
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OP
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research for uni
So did your tutor offer you alternative projects?

Did your tutor understand how wide this project could be, in respect of the various uses that the phrase 'camper homes' could be put to, and that it could take you 3 years to complete the project? Because people have been debating this subject for years.

Please ask your tutor to come onto this forum and explain why he set you this project.
i asked :
Are there things that bug you?
are there things you couldn't live without?
do you wish there was something for ..
what function do you hate or love
what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary
what accidents happen the most

to gain absolute knowledge of any human activity can take years but designers have to find it quick, a forum where you can ask for useful info about there experience is helpful....sometimes. honestly, I asked some simple questions.
Its a simple project of gaining knowledge and creating leads for a useful product from that knowledge.

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Carol

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To answer your questions.
1. The fact that the UK could do with more facilities like the Aires in France. You need to reaserch the vehicle to suit you so nothing really bugs you.

2. I could not live without my bathroom and toilet. Or my fridge.

I started answering your questions then realised there is such a huge variation in Motorhomes/ camper vans / van life vans were ordinary vans are converted often quite basically, that people make their full time homes, sometimes they have all the bells and whistles / then there are stealth vans .
So though your questions are seemingly straight forward there are so many variables to your questions.

If your project is on Motorhomes / Self build then you are making the right start I sometimes swear designers have never been in never mind lived in a Motorhome/ Campervan.
I would look at some you tube videos read the FB van forums and you will get some idea of the variety out there.
Motorhome Fun is a great source of information but as I said you only get 5 free questions.

Good luck with your project.
 
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suavecarve

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To answer your questions.
1. The fact that the UK could do with more facilities like the Aires in France. You need to reaserch the vehicle to suit you so nothing really bugs you.

2. I could not live without my bathroom and toilet. Or my fridge.

I started answering your questions then realised there is such a huge variation in Motorhomes/ camper vans / van life vans were ordinary vans are converted often quite basically, that people make their full time homes, sometimes they have all the bells and whistles / then there are stealth vans .
So though your questions are seemingly straight forward there are so many variables to your questions.

If your project is on Motorhomes / Self build then you are making the right start I sometimes swear designers have never been in never mind lived in a Motorhome/ Campervan.
I would look at some you tube videos read the FB van forums and you will get some idea of the variety out there.
Motorhome Fun is a great source of information but as I said you only get 5 free questions.

Good luck with your project.
There is some great advice offered there.

We are trying to understand what you want to know so you can try to improve something that may benefit us.

What is your end goal ?
 
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Kannon Fodda

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Designers of these vehicles need to be users, not simply someone who is given something of a competitor, or told to "update" within a budget that which is perceived to have already worked (but the end user may have found not quite so already worked). But if you are not an end user (not simply someone given something to try for a weekend) when designing even with market research you won't understand the precise niceties and will end up regurgitating that which went before.

On this forum we have such a wide user base, singles, couples, families, young, old, with pets and without, those who are weekenders, use only in summer others all year round, some live full time, many only stay in UK, others travel abroad for months, some have their first van with others on their umpteenth, we will rely on various standards of campsites (fully serviced, part, or very basic) or avoid them like the plague so need vans to be able to survive off grid for days perhaps weeks or not, many have bought new others second hand at various ages, some need to tow a car whilst others have various bikes and scooters, some self convert others buy known brands, values range from a few thousand to hundreds. Some of us have the campervan with little more than a roll out bed, many have panel van conversions (self or manufacturer), there are coach build and A class going up to almost the size of a bus. It goes on.

Realistically first you need to understand yhr market sector you are targeting and then the range of vehicles that can suit.

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Jim

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Hi smintyminty Sara, I've given you a couple of months free access to the forums, that should be more than enough to see your project through. Feel free to ask away and I'm sure you'll easily get more than enough information to complete your research.

Expect some answers to be more helpful than others, but I'm sure you are social media savvy enough to appreciate that. If you would like to design a Google form asking questions you can publish it here. As long as it doesn't collect any personal information

Are there things that bug you?​
No not a single thing
are there things you couldn't live without?​
A compressor beer fridge
do you wish there was something for ..​
Nope
what function do you hate or love​
I love fixed beds that don't require building
what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary​
No real problems apart from the Ferry ports being so far away
what accidents happen the most​
Nothing comes to mind
 
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Shrimp

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Are there things that bug you?
Campsites cost a fortune (generally) and we have to plan and book in UK to stay anywhere.

are there things you couldn't live without?
Fridge, washroom/loo, hob/cooker

do you wish there was something for ..
No

what function do you hate or love
Hate we are so restricted in this country
Love the way of life

what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary
Travelling-again this country, small in maintained roads
Stationary-high costs

what accidents happen the most
Don’t know.
 
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Feb 19, 2018
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Perhaps you should also ask the rough age of the people who contribute, by PM if they prefer, (20-40, 40-60, 60-80+) because what I found essential when I was 20-40yrs old (just a Loo, cooker and somewhere dry to sleep, never had a fridge) now that I'm 60-80, my needs are greater (or I think they are because I can afford for them to be.)

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Are there things that bug you?
Cleaning the roof.

are there things you couldn't live without?
Heating, hot water, fridge, toilet, shower, comfortable permanent bed.

do you wish there was something for ..
Cleaning the roof without climbing a ladder.

what function do you hate or love
Nothing in particular.

what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary
Nothing in particular

what accidents happen the most
It might be worth talking to the big campsite owners such as CAMC and CCC, they might know what problems crop up regularly e.g. driving off whilst still plugged in.
 
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Sara, I'd say you need to define your user case better, as everyone's needs are different.
Users vary from 18 to 80, triathletes to disabled, solos to 5 kids, with budgets between 2K and 200K, and van use between 5 and 52 weeks/year etc. Other variables are climate(s), site type, road type, travel distance, other transport carried, ego/status, type of home (for parking, if applicable).

These bands are too wide for any meaningful direction for a designer.

The factory builds are a good start at what they find profitable, to appeal to the user base for new vans. The home build / secondary market come in for those either with smaller budgets and simpler needs; or premium price unusual requirements. Often these add personalisation beyond any cost justification.
And there are many DIY efforts which, whilst laudable in effort, IMHO (as a career design engineer) barely function for their owner, and shouldn't really be repeated.
Defining your customer segmentation should drive the design remit. Good luck!
 
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Jane And Rog

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Are there things that bug you?

We have a small van, a PVC, shared with two adults and a large dog. Most of the things that bug me spring from this small space being shared.
1. The van is permanently filthy, and I’m always cleaning, as the dog brings dust and sand into a small space. At home it is spread over a wide area and not so noticeable!
2. The pinch point in the middle of the van is hard for two adults to pass each other (and we’re fairly small people). So you get trapped in the front or the back of the van.
3. Although the shower in our 2019 Adria Twin SGX is a clever design, it’s still a tiny space, and you don’t get the most amazing shower in the world.

I’d like an oven, but don’t want to lose storage space.

Are there things you couldn't live without?

Fridge, loo, hot shower, hob, hot water to wash up, central heating, lighting, fixed comfy bed.

Our van has an electric raising bed at the back, which means we have masses of storage space - more than some much bigger vans. So we can easily fit chairs, tables, large barbeques, dog food, shoes, etc.

The high bed at the back means the dog can’t get on it and make it filthy like the rest of the van.

Our van has diesel heating, which means we always have masses of fuel for heating, and our two refillable gas bottles are just for heating water and the two gas hobs, so they last longer.

Solar panel. With the diesel & gas heating, we are pretty self-sufficient and don’t need to be on hook-up much.

do you wish there was something for ..

Wish we had diesel hot water heating as well as central heating. Ideally diesel hob too but I think there are too many issues. Would be nice to ditch gas entirely.

Would be fantastic to have a loo that never needed emptying - or much more rarely. We have looked into incineration toilets.

Tardis like space. Drive a Mini around, park up, step inside and its 200 sq m. :)

Massive walk-in shower with infinite water without losing any other feature of the van :)

Would like 4WD and pneumatic suspension for going over large lumps and onto ferries.

Would like automatic levelling when parking up, but it’s not worth the cost to us.

What function do you hate or love

As above, love diesel heating, love high bed not accessible to dogs.

Love the massive sky window in the Adria Twin Supreme, loads of light in the van and it feels large and open at the front.

Hate our push fit water connectors which are always leaking.

Dislike the van rattling when driving, although we have mainly fixed this with uprated air spring suspension and better packing.

Love that our van is orange :)

what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary

On the road - none really. We are a small van. Parking although easier than most vans, it’s still 6.4m long so sometimes finding a parking spot is harder than in a car.

Think there should not be height restrictions on most town centre parking, and that there should be a network of Aires in the UK as there is in France & Germany.

what accidents happen the most

Rog has now driven into trees twice. I think they must jump out on him.

About us - we’re 62 & 56, just retired, and I would class us as pretty fit (climbed Scafell Pike last year and cycled across the UK - need to get back on it this year after our lazy Morocco trip!)

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haganap

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I live in Bangor, literally on the Menai bridge during the week, be happy to take part. But as others have said, huge can of worms which would need more clarity, wide range of difference with the user.
If you were asking what you might want to design to improve the lives of Motorhomers, how about a table that telescopically disappears when not in use and reappears when you use it. Many complain about the sizes of fixed tables taking up so much room in a limited lounging area.
 
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maz

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If you were asking what you might want to design to improve the lives of Motorhomers, how about a table that telescopically disappears when not in use and reappears when you use it. Many complain about the sizes of fixed tables taking up so much room in a limited lounging area.
This. Four vans in 11 years and in each one I have removed and stored the fixed table, replacing it with a folding one.

As a very recently ex-fulltimer, my take on your questions is likely to be quite different to those who use their van for holidays. So, as others have already said, narrower research parameters would benefit your project.

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If my memory serves me correctly this is about the 3rd time a student has come on this site asking the same question, I wonder why they pick motorhomes? I think Jim's suggestion of a Google form would be the way to go.
 
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Two on Tour

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i asked :
Are there things that bug you?
are there things you couldn't live without?
do you wish there was something for ..
what function do you hate or love
what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary
what accidents happen the most

to gain absolute knowledge of any human activity can take years but designers have to find it quick, a forum where you can ask for useful info about there experience is helpful....sometimes. honestly, I asked some simple questions.
Its a simple project of gaining knowledge and creating leads for a useful product from that knowledge.
Are there things that bug you? - with our motorhome, nothing really, but in general as said, the cost of mainstream sites. We prefer the smaller quieter site in the UK. Happier touring abroad where there is for the most part a more welcoming culture towards motorhoming.

are there things you couldn't live without? - separate shower and loo (don't like wetrooms), big fridge/freezer, hob & oven.

do you wish there was something for - nothing that comes to mind.

what function do you hate or love - that we do not have a fixed island bed, and love the two full-length sofas to stretch out on.

what's your biggest problems on the road and or stationary - Google maps sometimes stupid shortcuts, and stationary we seem to be a magnet for the French wanting to park so close that you can barely open a window without banging it into their van.

what accidents happen the most - nothing major, although I have clobbered the wall coming out of our driveway.

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bigtwin

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One of the biggest issues currently facing the industry is how to build lighter vehicles, while maintaining quality and durability, that enable sufficient user payload due to the constraints imposed by the maximum gross vehicle weight of 3,500Kg.

Ian
 
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The ideal motorhome should be a Tardis, bigger on the inside than on the outside. Small on the outside for ease of parking and getting down narrow roads, but big on the inside to carry all the stuff that people want.

Now as no designers have yet designed a Tardis the next best thing would be to use as many items as possible for more than one use. For instance, many MHs have a combined shower and toilet cubicle to save space.

So to get you thinking, here is something which could be done using existing technology, tho it isn't a DIY project and it hasn't as far as I know been done yet. So why can't a fridge double up as an oven ? Bit of lateral thinking could easy give the principles.
 
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Cal54

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You have quite a task in front of you I’m afraid Sara smintyminty!
We all have different needs/wants depending on so many things i.e. age, physical ability and not forgetting budget. I personally went through 7 different campers/Motorhomes before settling on my current one which I have had from new - now 10 years old. Another obvious fact is how many people will be using. I’m a solo travelling plus dog and that defines my choice.
My essentials are:
1) Toilet ( a female of advancing years!)
2) Comfortable bed - for me that means fixed and no infills
3) Cooker - currently have 2 burner gas but use a camping induction hob when on electric hook up ( wish this was integrated somehow)
4) Comfortable lounge seating (something mine lacks unfortunately)
5) decent storage
6) decent size fresh water tank
7) combi boiler so hot water available from gas & electric
8) decent size leisure batteries and solar to enable off grid stays
9) electric step for habitation area that auto retracts.
10) reversing camera

A lot of what I’ve listed are pretty obvious and most of us would probably want the same. However I didn’t want a huge beast and I have a 6metre pvc which enables easy driving and parking.

On the negatives:
No major accidents but occasional doors/cupboards opening whilst driving and subsequent flying objects! Entirely down to driver error for not checking properly.

Wish list:
as others have said a culture in the uk where campers/Motorhomes are welcome and facilities for overnight stays like French Aires are readily available.

A recognition that solo travellers are numerous and use of facilities (water/refuse etc) are a lot less than a family. I would like this reflecting in the pricing structure of more sites (camping and caravan club already do)

Good luck with your project 👍
 
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