The ustwo Auto team explore user experience in the automotive space with client engagements and our own research and experimental projects, building services and products around the connected car.
The ustwo Auto team is led by Tim Smith, Harsha Vardhan and Lexi Cherniavsky, working alongside the community of practitioners within the studio.
Recent projects and experiments have focussed on these areas.
- The Connected Car: Enhancing the ownership experience by connecting the car to people’s lifestyles and expectations
- Contextual HMI: Making the in-car experience more personal and situational
- Smart Mobility: Creating new services to help people navigate the world more easily
- Humanising Autonomy: Looking beyond the technology and focussing on new human behaviours and opportunities
- Whitepaper: Designing the Future of Mobility: Cities Show Us the Way
Here are just a few of the projects we have been working on…
ARE WE THERE YET? THOUGHTS ON IN-CAR HMI
With the ongoing integration of advanced computer systems into vehicles, the interfaces within are becoming ever-more complex. As the prime points of interaction between driver and car, these ‘human–machine interfaces’ (HMI) demand great care and attention from manufacturers, designers and engineers alike.
In this five part blog series ustwo Auto look into this phenomenon of growing in-car HMI complexity. We explore our belief that an interface should match the evocative nature and elegance of an automobile’s exterior and interior design. We also outline our key thoughts on how, in partnership with manufacturers, we can bring an extra layer of care into the design of compelling experiences, in order to tame the beast that is in-car HMI.
The thought piece is also available as a convenient tablet-optimised eBook PDF that has already had over 10,000 downloads and counting. Download the ebook PDF here. We also created a handful of hardback printed copies as featured on FormFiftyFive and Automotive World.
Apple Design Team
USTWO REIMAGINE THE IN-CAR CLUSTER
Over the last year, we’ve seen a lot of new thought around in-car HMI. We’ve seen considered critique about the elements and design considerations (especially in the centre console), with safety rightly at the forefront. The instrument cluster, however, has remained fundamentally unchanged since instruments first appeared in the car.
In the course of our research and partnership with CDR (Car Design Research), we’ve looked into how we can – and why we should – enrich this space. In our thought piece and prototype, we present the results of this, not as a complete solution, but as a viewpoint and approach to be tested, debated and improved with your feedback.
The debate has already spread like wildfire throughout the press, including coverage from Wired, Road & Track, Engadget, Popular Mechanics, Business Insider, The Verge and many more. The concept also scooped two Finalist Awards at the FastCo Innovation by Design Awards in the Experimental and Data Visualisation categories. Not to brag.
THE END OF TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
The ustwo Auto team worked with the Human-Computer Interaction & Design (HCI+D) students at the University of Washington in Seattle as advisors on their capstone project, after being approached following the publication of our cluster thought piece above.
The project deals with the distractions involved in texting while driving. Using existing technology and targeting ordinary human behaviours, the solution brilliantly flips the problem on its head by placing the responsibility on the sender, rather than the driver via a “Car Mode” (think Airplane Mode but for cars) that informs them that the recipient is driving, prompting them to reconsider when to send the message. For a quick look at the solution in action, you can check out their video.
We think this approach is both clever and brave, and it’s backed by a team asking the right questions at the right time. We would be happy to hear what you think!
JAGUAR APPLE WATCH APP
Jaguar Land Rover, the iconic British automotive manufacturer, are renowned around the globe for their beautifully crafted vehicles and design heritage. Not only do they push the boundaries of design and technology, they create a sense of theatre and emotional connection rarely seen in their competitors. With such strong design principles in the physical experience and a host of successful cars vindicating them, it was clear that the same principles should translate into the digital realm, something that we at ustwo pride ourselves on.
With a clear overlap of values, we were extremely excited to form a partnership that combined the quality of JLR’s automotive design, with our knowledge of digital product design and development to explore the opportunities around wearables.
Cities show us the Way
The world is urbanising rapidly: Over 50% of us live in towns and cities already. With 64% of journeys taking place in urban areas today and this proportion set to increase, there is enormous pressure to provide a transport infrastructure which keeps business moving and creates places where human beings want to live. Cities are both on the frontline of this mobility challenge, with city leaders everywhere naming it a top priority, and being best placed to tackle it. But how?
In our whitepaper, we explore what we believe are three important enabling factors:
- City-created platforms for innovation on which authorities catalyse change, with smaller mobility players providing solutions
- The embrace of the smart city, in particular the fostering of digital solutions
- The recognition among authorities and other players that inclusion within mobility systems has not only individual and civic benefits, but also aids economic growth and innovation
Many other factors will determine how and when cities, each under different circumstances, deliver a sustainable mobility future. In this paper we also discuss autonomous vehicles, the importance of city types and our mobility initiative Wayfindr, an open standard for inclusive city navigation. Get yourself a copy to find out more.
If you’d like to discuss a mobility project with us, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE OF CHARGE: ELECTRIC VEHICLES
We take a look at the Electric Vehicle (EV) landscape and find out what it’s really like, from a user experience point of view, to own, run and charge EV’s in Britain today.