The Driver User Experience

The driver’s user experience. That sounds a little bit repetitive, mechanical, and awkward, but I think it describes what I want to publish in my little corner of the internet.

I am a car enthusiast. I enjoy the look and design of them. I like the sound their engines and exhaust pipes emit at different RPM intervals. I like how the new car smell differs from a BMW to a Japanese econo-box. I scrutinize the shifter feel after a perfect rev-match because it’s not “notchy” enough to my liking when I do the 3 pedal dance with my feet. I long for a curvy, traffic-less road. I adore on/off ramps. A third gear pull to speeds enough to break the law is as enjoyable as the sound and smell of squealing tires from low speed doughnuts and drifts. These are common feelings that car enthusiast share. But I want to cover the driver user experience (UX).

What do I mean by driver user experience?

There are so many things I could describe that compile together as driver user experience. From the radio button layout to the menu selections in the car’s navigation screen. How about the front and rear visibility of the car’s surrounding and how well it works with the rear view camera or the parking sensors? It can be the exhilaration of acceleration combined with noises from the engine and the reality of what the speedometer shows. From the cupholders doing their jobs in turns due to size and fitment to how secure you feel in the seat as you feel the car’s weight transfer in corners to urge you to go faster. It’s the quirks each car has that make you wonder, “what were the engineers thinking?”. From the moment you get in the car and power the engine to the moment you step out and everything in between – that is the driver user experience.

This will not just be automotive related reviews. I do not want to spit out facts and figures of 0-60 mph in x.x seconds. That is easily regurgitated with a quick Google search. I want to critque the user experience in the automotive industry.

Software and it’s digital user experience is quickly making their way into our cars. Screens that manages almost everything, from climate control to engine monitoring. With more software UI/UX integrated into cars these days, it is necessary to bridge traditional, mechanical, analog UX to modern digital UI/UX. I want to find the UX quirks that most cars have and explain how the user flow or design could be better.

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