Automotive HMI concept design

"We have a new prototype vehicle with a beautiful gigantic screen. But our interaction concept does not work. Please fix."

  • Client: Japanese OEM
  • Role: UX, prototyping, art direction
  • Year: 2023
  • Status: concluded
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Our drivers tell us driving with our current concept makes them feel nauseated.


Create a novel interaction concept for a prototype vehicle for a major Japanese OEM (name confidential). There are two screens in the vehicle. The first one spans the entire width of the dashboard (’coast-to-coast’ display) and is out of physical reach while driving. The second one offers touch interaction and is centre-mounted and therefore responsible of controlling the larger one.

What We've Done

  • Strategic discovery
  • Concept creation
  • In-vehicle prototyping
  • Visual design outlook
  • On-site concept implementation in prototype vehicle
  • Client presentation

Creative Process

  • Research: we conducted research on the business's values, competitors, and target audience to gain a better understanding of their brand and industry.
  • Whiteboarding: research fuelled our numerous whiteboard sessions during which we laid out the fundamental paradigms, mental models, interaction concepts, and hardware controls.
  • Wireframing: after distilling promising concepts from brainstorming, we began exploring those in more detail on paper and digitally.
  • Prototyping: to test, improve, dismiss or validate our concepts, we set up a seating buck. The screens configuration resembled the prototype vehicle of the client.
  • Art direction: the mental model of the final concept also works beautifully in visual design. Even though it wasn’t part of the scope, we created a few hero screens that illustrated the power of a cohesive mental model and visual design language.
  • Presentation: we distilled everything into a gigantic Keynote file, stuffed a NUC with all sorts of cables into our luggage and hopped over to Japan.
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Our prototypes running on the client’s prototype vehicle made a huge impact. They were interactive straight from the installed vehicle screens and hardware buttons. The client liked the concept and hired icon incar to fully implement the concept during a much longer design phase.

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The concept wasn’t just novel but also coherently connected the two screens which made interaction simple, consistent, predictable, and fun.

My work directly ensured the agency that had hired me a much larger follow-up job that has already commenced.

For more information on this project, please contact me directly.

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