© 2018 Evelyn Flores

The Goal: 

As part of my HCI 430 class at DePaul, I worked with a team to explore the various types of prototypes for their uses in multi-channel mobile telematics applications. This included the possibility of using a combination of telematic, mobile, and web interfaces. We needed to identify user tasks and which channels were appropriate. 

My Role: Designer

Tools: Axure RP, Photoshop, Illustrator

Skills: User research, prototyping, wireframing, designing

Context: Group Project

In 2016, automobile telematic capabilities are growing rapidly...

in conjunction with advances in smartphones, internet and cellular network speeds, and GPS technology. 
 
These advances create an opportunity for automobile companies to offer their customers features that combine convenience, safety, and fun. Our team selected a luxury auto manufacturer to integrate premium telematics with a user-friendly interface for the ultimate driving experience.

Concept Designs

As a team we conducted a design charette session and brainstormed our different ideas for the application. We also created a mood board on the overall design inspiration.

Car Guest Process Flow

The Opportunity

Mid-Fidelity Prototype Testing

The ‘Owner’ prototype included a robust feature set, including weather, car functions (locks, insurance data, climate control, view recent trips), allowing the car owner complete access to their automotive experience from their smartphone. A mid-fi prototype was built using Axure software, focusing on ‘Owner’ scenario tasks. I mainly focused on designing this aspect of the project, while another team member designed for the 'Guest' prototype. Usability testing was conducted by three other team members using a protocol and script developed by our team.

Owner Task Scenario 1

Owner Task Scenario 2

Without clicking or tapping anything, tell me what you see on the screen. What’s going on - what kind of things could you potentially do here?
Using this app, talk me through how you would find and [forward?assign?]  Starbucks directions to the car’s GPS/navigation system.

Let’s say that this is a destination that you plan to return to, possibly frequently. Show me how you would you save it to easily find later.

High-Fidelity Prototype

After taking into account specific aspects the team needed to focus on, we moved on to designing for high-fidelity prototypes for both Owner and Guest side using Axure. 

Style Brand

Features

Reflection

The benefits of an automotive application shared between owner and passengers include:

  • Convenience

  • Navigation

  • Ease of use  

  • Safety  

  • Hands-free  

  • Driver undistracted  

  • Fun  

  • Shared passenger control 

  • Streaming entertainment 

  • Enjoy the ride together

Our concept is a multi-platform automotive application designed to give car owners and their passengers safe and entertaining access to an in-car system.  
 

 

The prototype design for Mercedes- Benz focused on two distinct users the owner (driver) of the vehicle and a guest (passenger) in the vehicle. With different needs and accessibility considerations for each user type, a slightly different design approach was applied for each group.

 

Personas were developed to provide context and audience for our design team. 

Target Users

During this phase of ideation, the team sketched and discussed the features of the application. It became clear that a priority feature would be guest access to the application, and how they could best access in-car features like navigation and media. During this time we discussed the pros and cons of the guest accessing the app through a stand-alone application, Bluetooth, NFC, or WIFI. In the end, connecting through an in-car WIFI network won out, as it required the least amount of driver involvement, lowest barrier to simultaneous entry for multiple guests, and most network security

Results

The initial round of usability testing proved the application concept as a value-added automotive feature. In particular, the concept of sharing control between car owner and guest was well-received by testers. Both “owner” and “guest” usability testing gave our test participants the positive impression that this application would be used and enjoyed in a real-world context. The testers gave favorable comments toward the overall shared control functionality as well as the ability to add destinations along an existing route in GPS.

 

The test result validated our assumption that the concept of the shared control would benefit both owner and guest in terms of safety, entertainment, and flexible control. The two usability testers completed the tasks successfully for both “Owner” and “Guest”, respectively. However, the testing results identified usability issues in various areas; proper feedback, distinctive iconography, the use of text label and description, and clear menu structure. The test results also indicated some clear design and functionality areas to improve to make the application more intuitive and clear to users.

 

The design team examined the current prototype based on the pain points and findings from the testing. For faster access to control settings, control features were added with other Settings options at the same level for better discoverability. To remove any ambiguity of iconography, clear icon metaphor was considered and text labels added. To provide the proper context of the required action, a descriptive text was added to guide users in certain areas. When an action is made, visual or audio feedback would be prompted in the car.

The team worked in an agile environment of designing, testing, and refining with various iterations. I learned a lot of skills as the team's designer. I was able to work on developing communication, prototyping, and using style guidelines to create an app that met the goals the team set out to achieve. I also gained skills in understanding what features are useful for different type of platforms, that I think will be valuable for future projects.