FastCompany recently posted a insightful analysis, definitely worth a read, of the challenges the auto industry faces as they work to embrace consumer electronics and other ditigal trends. The title begins “Cars Are Horrible Mobile Tech Devices…” and details the root of the problem:
“Fast as they they may go, automobiles are some of the slowest-moving mobile devices in the industry, plagued by fragmented software ecosystems, unwelcoming development environments, and old-world product cycles.”
Last year, Near Future Laboratory did a great post entitled The Interaction & Interface Design Car Wreck that gave some examples of awful interface design in current and upcoming cars. And a report that “Ford cars dropped from 5th to 23rd in JD Power’s customer satisfaction survey primarily due to a complex and hard to use in-car digital UI” is an urgent call to action.
The industry works at moving forward, obviously aware of customer needs, but having to work within the confines of their bureaucracies, histories, structures.
My previous job was at DesignworksUSA, a BMW Group company. One project that the studio was involved in was a collaboration with the BMW i design team on the interface experience of the i3 and i8 concept cars, as well as the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive showcar. The projects were big, and involved a lot of very smart and talented people.
I’d love to share more details and insights but, to avoid any potential violation of confidential information, I’ll just post a couple glimpses at these without any additional commentary. But… I will say that I believe that BMW has an incredible design team, and their attention to detail is unsurpassed.