Modern cars are rolling computers. From driver-assistance, battery management and infotainment features software became a key-component for every automotive manufacturer. Software and the visual HMI is more prominent to the driver than ever.
Inspired by Tesla most modern car brands have their own "User Interface" on a big screen with fewer phyiscal buttons. Powerful graphic cards, fancy icons and different approaches for the same main tasks: navigation, playing music and showing climate controls.
This Moodboard collects a few trends and screenshots. It was created in January 2023 and is not a complete picture but a good starting point for your research.
My personal Learnings
- Touchscreens are not universal liked compared to physcal buttons but are everywhere. Driving focus is important but more features like climate control are automated today. I've compared this in a blogpost
- Most UIs still look cluttered and do not follow recent design-trends we know e.g. from mobile apps ("Minimal UI").
- Too many actions, buttons and icons. This would be hard to learn and use even if every of Volkswagen 32 icons would be a physical button.
- Focus is still on gasoline cars from a long gone era. Climate controls, RPM counter, "blutooth status" are in stark contrast to showing the destination weather forecast (Apple) or just embedding Spotify directly (Tesla, BMW, ...)
- Tesla leads the game with many updates and refreshes across the recent years - and it's not concept art. You can install Steam Games now and customize the UI in every aspect.
- You can see many "stores" and upselling options in the screens. Features can be bought later.
- Basic UI mistakes can be spotted e.g. in BMWs cut-off Spotify playlists or with Audis too small home tiles.
Disclaimer: I'm driving a Tesla Model 3 and drove MBUX-powered Mercedes before.
About the Infographic
During the CES2023 I've started to collect screenshots from car software. I decided to put this moodboard. I've probably missed a few companies and good screenshots are hard to find. Did you know that Volkswagen uses a placeholder image in their manual and Mercedes took the screenshots with an external camera? …
I don't own the copyright to the user interfaces shown here - this is just a research collage. Use this for your own research and inspiration.
You can write me an email or on LinkedIn if you want to discuss or have specific feedback. I'm always happy to talk details. Don't hesitate!