For millions of people, Tesla needs no introduction. For everybody else, Tesla creates electric vehicles that can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. But if you’ve ever driven a Tesla, you’ll discover something incredible. Tesla design their vehicles not for the perfect driving experience, but for the perfect riding experience. This however isn’t reflected well enough in the in-car dashboard and it’s something I took on myself to fix.
By creating low-fi layout concepts, I can easily visualise the product architecture and how people will interact with it. From these foundations I can create user flows from the beginning of the journey to the desired destination.
The text content represents more than 80% of the design, so understanding typography is crucial. I always put readability first. The default font for iOS is San Francisco, which is made in-house by Apple. I always use this system font for my projects because it’s beautiful, free and most importantly, designed for legibility.
I also enjoy creating moodboards. This helps me visualise the aesthetics of the project. It keeps me aligned on the vision and gives me something to revisit and helps to keep the coherency of the project. It’s a way to keep myself inspired.
Just like a great business plan is nothing without master execution, a great design mockup is nothing, without careful consideration to UI from the UX research and extreme dedication to details.
By creating a product quality deliverable to learn is a huge investment of resources. Even if it is of minimal design and functionality. By testing prototypes rather than functional products, I can move even quicker and pivot when an opportunity is discovered. All my interactive prototypes are built with Framer X.
Interact with Framer prototype below.
When designing the experience and interactions of a product, my focus and objective is to get the user to her desired destination with as little work as possible. To do this, I need to discover what the secrets are at the core of her problem, define objectives and then expand outwards.
Exploring how customers feel about Tesla I decided to create personas and build empathy for the different experiences. This research was based on assumptions mostly, however, I have driven a Tesla Model X on multiple occasions so I could act as a Tesla owner using my own experience and a little intuition.
During my research I discovered many different scenarios of the driving experience which resulted in the following:
Scenario: User experiences transition from autonomous driving by voice controlled assistant.
Scenario: Users first experience with screen only control system for a car interior. Will she be comfortable?
Scenario: User is comfortable with Autonomous driving. Now, she wants to watch Netflix while driving.
Summarising the research and user persona’s, I created multiple empathy maps and developed the following considerations:
How will the user feel safe with autonomous driving?
People feel safe when they’re feel in control. If you give the user constnt visual and motion feedback that everything is under control, they’ll be relaxed and comfortable.
How much control will the user have of the driving experience?
The current Tesla UI model is difficult to navigate. It's not clear how to return back to the main dashboard when on different screens.
There won't be any physical components in the car. Literally none. How will the UI will have to compensate for that?
Accessibility is key. Limit the amount of pages and navigation.
After synthesising the context of the pains and gains and assuming scenearios, comes my favourite part of the process. Ideation.
Implementation of the components after the sketches and blueprints were validated. To understand why, read the descriptions below.
The team at Tesla spend every waking hour to make the perfect riding experience. The amount of research, testing and iterations go beyond what I can personally imagine and the time to get it right lasts much longer than the average software delivery cycle. However, they have access to a lot of data and research to accomplish what they have (I don’t).
The amount of research and data collected by myself is mostly based on assumptions and what’s available on the web, so I don’t claim that my decisions are better or worse, simply from a different perspective.
There’s still many more features that I havn’t explained, but like any design project, I’ll keep iterating and explaing my rationale behind the descions, big or small.