We are at the crux of discussing car interface with the new electric cars emerging. Many companies resolve to simple adoption of GUI principles and a center console screen, is there a better way?
*Many HMI systems use big screens and beautiful UI to present information. This undoubtedly attracts a lot of attention, is it right to have such designs?
Secondary Research
On average, modern car drivers spent 24.7 seconds completing tasks — nearly 2.5 times longer than a non-touchscreen car.
While understanding some center console designs are meant for lowering cost and allowing autonomous driving to take over, designing interface around the idea of no decision from users is irresponsible.
Primary Research
I conducted 8 interview + workshop with drivers of drastically different backgrounds.
“Pilot seat is supposed to make you feel covered, surrounded, encased by design. It’s supposed to be a contraption of all the needs fulfilled.”
*Interface Designer
“New car interface targets younger consumers, there’s no way having a giant iPad in the center of dash is safe.”
“I drive a right side antique Japanese car. I don’t like how the screen based interactions don’t give you haptic feedback. It’s like there no joy in control.”
*Vintage Car Enthusiast
After warmed up with interview and participants are in the mindset of thinking car interface and their needs. I asked them to sketch out where physically would they want certain features to live.
people miss...
of driving
*from secondary research, people intend "fun" as the responsiveness of the interface, how does controls match their mental model, and the gratification of elegant tactile feedback.
Car Interface Hierarchy
From workshops, I consolidated car interface opportunities in 6 distinct areas.

In theses interaction point, drivers perform most of the control and information gathering on the pilot seat.
*I choose to use Tesla's Yoke steering wheel design because it doesn't obstruct other interface as much in prototype. This doesn't mean the design is specific for Tesla cars.
Design Opportunities
Since I want to focus on driving experience with new interface technology, I decided to focus on the HUD, Dash, and Steering Wheel for this project.
How might we design a modern car interface that emphasis on the driving experience?
Introducing A-Dash
1. Attention Driven Dash
Eye-tracking Technology
A-Dash tracks drivers attention with structured light scanner. Drivers calibrates the system on each start of the car.

The attention reactive system utilizes this feature to build a clean and responsive interface. Little information is shown when not needed. When more information is needed, the system is still able to provide according to where the driver's attention is.
Possible Considerations
Eye-tracking is only used to reveal information. To prevent distraction and dangerous driving habit, eye-tracking should not be used as a form of interactive input, e.g. using attention to select album covers...
2. Digital Muscle Memory
Concise Infotainment Screens
The driver uses controls on the steering wheel to perform quick tasks that doesn't require too much attention and are a bit of hustle to reach over to the center screen or other buttons.
Possible Considerations
The concise screens are designed to present information relevant to driving only.

Quick tasks to perform should not take too long. Otherwise they should be performed on the main screen.

Center screen is currently not the priority of A-Dash.
3. Interface Bleeding to the Edge
Activating the Edges
Activating the edges of the displays, A-Dash blends together the digital and physical aspects of the interface.

Graphical interface reflects changes and states of the system in abstract yet understandable ways.
Possible Considerations
This is a more speculative feature. When showed to participants, most agree with the elegance of the design and representation. However, too much movement may still distract drivers. Maybe a better solution would be detecting how focused drivers are.
4. Behavioral Design
I started this capstone project as a challenge to myself on designing for a new format without speculating on how much work is needed for a full car interface. Thus I scaled down to only focus on drivers' experience and especially dashboards, since other areas already have proven functional and elegant designs.

To extend on this project, we can also consider on other interactions that could potentially happen within a private car space. For example, how do drivers interact with their copilots, can interface nudge them safer practice as well, what are some situation that people don't really need a smart interface, what do we do then?
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