Bosch, the German multinational engineering and electronics company, is applying a UX approach to help spark enthusiasm for electric driving, and to develop a “fascinating” user interface for electric vehicles.
The project website consists of three sections (some have short videos):
For six months, the Bosch user experience team analyzed how the car of the future can be best tailored to customers’ needs. Together with real users, a wide range of ideas were put forward. The Birgit persona presents a few of them. Some of these ideas are helping her to reduce her energy consumption daily.
Exploratory ideas include the hunch mode (hunches about things that might interest Birgit as she drives), the energy flow display, the next mile guide, and remote monitoring and control.
A human focus
The ideas in Birgit’s electric car are the work of the Bosch user experience team. In four project phases – and using a new approach to development – the team members gain a number of insights into the possible design of a future human-machine interface (HMI) for electric vehicles. These insights are then applied to a prototype, and members of the public are asked what they think of the concepts that have been developed.
Phase 1: “Can I drive off yet?” (What people want)
Phase 2: The ten commandments (design principles)
Phase 3: Mock-up of the new vehicle
Phase 4: Familiar faces (driving simulator to test all the new systems)
User experience projects such as this one are complex. They tie up a lot of resources over a long period of time, and their success is anything but guaranteed. Feeling comfortable with a wide variety of possible solutions is an important prerequisite for the success of user experience projects. The team members have to abandon old paths and instead use insights from users as well as their own ideas to find new solutions. The route is impossible to predict in advance. It is therefore important that the team is made up of people who – for all their imagination – don’t lose sight of the objective and, in particular, the budget.
Subsections cover user interface design, rapid prototyping, observing users, and sketching ideas.