Snapshot: How we built a glanceable automotive UI

Dead Trees and Geocities

I started working with dead trees as a print designer back in the year 2000, but before too long I got sucked into the world of web design projects. This was an era when web design as a discipline was still quite new and we were all haunted by the memory of some harrowing early efforts.

Early web design sins (not mine)
Customer journey workshop

My first designs were horrible

It’s true — no one gets it right straight off the bat. If I may offer one piece of advice, it would be to surround yourself with the best people possible. Seek them out and learn. I was very fortunate to work alongside Patrick (Weissert, German Autolabs co-founder and CPO) and Minna (Hekanaho, Head of UX) who were a huge help when we were building our UX principles. These principles became the cornerstone of the work we went on to do for Chris, the world’s first in-car voice assistant.

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs): Chris Maps and Navigation
Chris, listening

Exit the void: Talk to people

Working systems can be one of the hardest things to establish and maintain in a fast-moving startup. And just as nature abhors a vacuum, one of the golden rules for designers is: Don’t design in a void. So a really important working system to put in place was the introduction of regular and intensive user research and feedback sessions.

Exit the void: User research and feedback session
Chris user journey map

Developers are people too

There can be a lot of good natured friction between the devs and, well, anyone who is not one of them. I’ve learned to cultivate strong friendships with the developers at German Autolabs because their input and insight is often invaluable when it comes to helping me understand how their unusual minds work. I’m partly serious: these conversations have led to redesigned components, fresh colour approaches and occasionally, throwing the whole thing in the bin.

Essential takeaways

If we have to boil it down to the very essence, my two biggest learnings regarding Voice UX for pro drivers would be:

And finally: Don’s one stop shop of useful links

From O’Reilly’s Laws of UX to Bandcamp playlists, if you’re looking for UX / UI design inspiration, look no further. It’s good to share. ✌🏽

A very, very old Don snapshot of a different kind.

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German Autolabs

German Autolabs

We build logistics voice assistance for mobile workers.