Automotive UI/UX Work.

Stanford’s Center For Design Research (CDR).
2015-2016



I spent over a year working at Stanford in Wendy Ju’s Center for Design Research (CDR) and the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL). There I was involved in a number of projects where I was asked to design interactions between people and vehicles of all levels of autonomy.

Here are a select number of projects from my time there:










Adaption app


Question: Can we use phone sensor data to understand how people drive and give them feedback to improve?


The final version of the app could be given to participants so that they could  affix it to their dash, press ‘start’ and begin driving. This made data collection for the research much easier to gather as participants didn’t have to be trained in how to use the tools.


Solution: Presenting feedback using simple language allows drivers to improve their driving without becoming frustrated.

Core Challenge: How to give direct and actionable feedback without appearing overly domineering.

Key Skills: Development using Sketch and xCode (swift) and working alongside software engineers.



UX architecture sketch developed through one-on-one interviews and collaborative design workshops I lead. Used to get all parties on board with the featureset.


I designed and worked with software engineers to build an app to serve as a research platform for the lab. The app aimed to understand the differences in driving styles between people over periods of time using the sensors common in any smart phone. My personal interest was into how a piece of smart software (or autonomous car of the future) might give feedback to drivers in non-inflammatory and constructive ways.



Original ‘design’ when I was brought onto the project. I was brought onto the project to turn this into something that participants could understand and use.



Workflow of V.1.1. Allowed core functionality of recording driving data and prelimary feedback to be given.



The design went through multiple rounds of usability testing to get from V.1.1 (right) to V.2.0 (left). Design was gradually reduced until only the prescient information was present.




App in use in the car. Giving feedback about three primary driving aspects; Cornering, Acceleration and Jerkiness. All determined using a machine learning algorithim on accelerometer and gyroscope sensor data.




Research paper investigating human trust in automation, showing my dashboard designs.



UI/UX design for published research.



My primary role whilst at Stanford was to help design and build interfaces and user experiences to enable research in the lab. An example of this is the interface I designed and built (below) to enable published research by David Miller et al. into trust in automation. As well as designing a flexible interface that could be used in a 45 minute research study, I worked on implementing it using the Altia design software that controlled the lab’s simulator.


Click here to read the paper.



Dashboard redesign for use in the 360 degree driving simulator used in the lab.









Design guidelines.


I also took on my own self directed research into the design strategies for autonomous dashboard interfaces. I conducted a study in which I designed 24 short interaction sketches (example below) that implemented varying levels of information display and design frameworks. The aim was to better understand how different demographics repsonded to different types of interfaces. The goal was to help build a set of design guidelines to be used by designers in the automotive industry.





Automotive dashboard design concepts that were used for testing with 400+ research participants.

© Hamish Tennent 2017