Design dimensions of experience rooms for service test drives

Bo Edvardsson (Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Bo Enquist (Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Robert Johnston (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Publication date: 13 July 2010



The objective of this exploratory study is to analyse “test drives” of service offerings in a variety of service contexts by applying existing design dimensions of experience rooms in order to develop some principles to assist service designers who are interested in developing such “test drives” for their potential customers.


An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken using three case studies with varying levels of simulation/artificiality. Data were collected from documents and interviews with service providers and customers and analysed using a framework of six dimensions.


The study adds a sixth dimension to the existing five dimensions or experience rooms found in the literature. It also proposes seven principles to guide designers who seek to create new service “test drives”. The study also introduces the new notion of “value in pre‐use” (a development of “value in use”) to describe the potential value of “real” services yet to be purchased. Finally the study documents some of the advantages and disadvantages of using “test drives”.

Research limitations/implications

The exploratory and interpretive nature of the research, and the limited number of cases and respondents, limits the generalisability of the findings.

Practical implications

The study provides several principles that can be used in the design of service “test drives”.


This is the first paper to analyse the design dimensions of service “test drives” and to propose the notion of “value in pre‐use”.



Edvardsson, B., Enquist, B. and Johnston, R. (2010), "Design dimensions of experience rooms for service test drives", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 312-327.

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