Since the Connected Cars were widely introduced in late 2000, Automakers, Tier 1s, and IT Giants started cramming more and more technologies into vehicles. Latest developments, indeed, gave drivers the ability to take calls, read and send texts via voice, navigate around using the latest maps updated over-the-air, and choose what to listen. Handy you say. To some extend.
Infotainment Systems are often brought to market in form of complicated and information-overcrowded systems. At its core, here is a design problem to balance, convenience and safety.
02. The Goal
Multiscreen In-Vehicle Infotainment System project aims at maintaining interaction design simplicity and functions accessibility within existing driver behaviour patterns, keeping in mind the major problem of Driver Distraction and the time Driver's eyes spend away from the road.
Multiscreen In-Vehicle Infotainment System is solving problem of traditional designs, such as crowded interfaces, complicated graphics, and unclear hierarchy. Google and Microsoft material design guidelines were taken as a base on the approach of delivering interactive features and mobile experience
integrate latest technologies to assists driver on the core task of driving
minimize the interaction with contents unrelated to core task of driving
minimize the time driver's eyes spend away from the road
minimize driver's learning curve to complete the task
integrate handhelds and 3-rd party apps
Prioritizing and grouping complex features
Splitting information across relevant displays and screens
Utilizing colors and elements dimension was an essential direction to follow
03. My Role
Project Initiator acting as Business Analyst and Product Owner to coordinate cross-functional team to define experiences for digitized environment of connected cars. My work has included ideation and leading brainstorms to prototyping and testing design experiments. Engaging agile methodologies, all ideas and experiments were tested with internal teams at different stages of the project in order to validate design decisions, and to turn meaningful insights into most possible and acceptable product directions of proved experimentations.
Conceptualization and ideation
Scope definition and project planning
Project vision to align with business goals
Execution and validation to monitor the status of project sprints
Deliver the MVP to gather users feedback
04. The Challenge
The entire project is build around pre-set hardware and in-vehicle controls. Software product design, prototyping, testing, and implementation tasks were completed under an extremely compressed timeframe in order to meet customer deadlines, and showcase customer's latest platform at the top automotive event in Geneva (Switzerland). To meet internal and external deadlines, some functionalities where compromised, and replaced with high quality visual effects. As timeline did not allow for the ideal upfront planning, developers were put together to working in parallel with UX designers to develop the base wireframes on spot. In order to assist the development UX designers had to jump ahead of the visual approach rapidly gathering Graphic designs' insights on the critical visuals which had not been created yet
05. The Structure
To assist on transaction and to solve the problem of traditional automotive designs, minimalist, distinctive and clear visual structure a along with content hierarchy was applied to reflect existing user behaviour. Horizontal content alignment was applied to simulate familiar consumer electronics mobile interfaces. Most critical information was pulled upfront: Traffic alerts, audio library, most recent contacts, and voice assistant. 3-rd party apps support was brought on top of existing dashboard functionality. In order to fit the 3-rd party apps into the vehicle displays, the content was scaled and graded to the vehicle GUI (aka. Graphic User Interface) standards
06. The Impact
In order to minimize driver interaction with handhelds while driving, the system architecture is primary focused on accommodating core-task focussed dashboard contents, and merging those contents up with 3-rd party automotive-tailored apps (e.g. Google Maps, Spotify, TineIn, etc.) to keep the person behind the wheel connected to the world and digital media. Selected touch-based interfaces (GUI) commands were replaced with voice interfaces (VUI) to allow for prompt tasks accomplishments. The top time consuming tasks, such as setting up the navigation (45 seconds), select the radio station (42 seconds) or find a record (37 seconds) where accomplished by volunteers who tested the system in 15 seconds per task
Minimalist user interface and visual structure allowing for a critical 2-seconds glance to accomplish a step of the
Third party Apps delivering driver-focused infotainment options: Audio-books, digital radio, parking search and booking, gas stations, navigation, etc.
With integrated VUI (aka. Voice User Interface) most time consuming tasks accomplishment time was reduced from 45 to 15 seconds average