What is a connected car?
Wikipedia defines a connected car as “a car that is equipped with Internet access, and usually also with a wireless local area network.” However, there are a variety of connected car accessory devices on the market that deliver unique information to consumers.
We found, in our research, most accessory products in the connected car industry fell into two categories: OBD (onboard diagnostic) technologies that connect to a car’s diagnostic system and dashboard mountable technologies. The Camura Cam's direct competitors are closer the later, excluding Automatic.
We created a competitive analysis of companies with similar offerings and found competitors focused more on fuel economy, navigation, engine management, and roadside assistance. Finding information on the devices was not difficult; however, finding live demos and being able to test devices wasn't easy.
Onboarding & IoT Best Practices
Luckily, we found Target's open house in San Francisco, which has a variety of IoT devices. At the Open house, it became obvious we needed a solid onboarding. This device introduces new features and requires interactive gestures, and onboarding would explain and design simple, clear cues that are easily recognized. We learned the importance of learnability, usability, and recognition when using an emerging technology product for the first time.
Finding the needs of drivers
60 online surveys, an extensive competitive analysis, 6 interviews and 3 contextual inquiries gave us the qualitative information we were seeking. The number one concern of participants was blind spot assistance. Participants ranked the following connected device features in order of importance: Collision detection, traffic and accident notifications, proximity warning, speeding notifications and lane change assistance. Entertainment and social media was the least important to motorists.
- 93% worry about vehicle security
- 70% want mobile notifications
- 95% interested in gesture controls
Surprisingly, interviewees were more excited for features related to safety and security than features related to connectivity and entertainment. Drivers stated they prefer not to interact with their phones and other handheld electronic devices while driving.
Prioritizing the needs of motorists
We analyzed and synthesized our research and created 3 personas that would benefit the most from using a Caruma Cam device.
Commuter - Parent who could benefit from safety of herself and her child, while commuting or sharing the car.
Tech savvy adventurer who could use the Caruma Cam to protect his high-end vehicle and other investments inside his vehicle.
Ride-sharer - Student, who could benefit from increased safety when earning extra money, working as ride share driver.
We carefully decided which features aligned with the promises promoted and were most viable for the launch of the MVP device. Research led us to believe security and safety were the most important, and any entertainment features could be added in the future feature, but were not necessarily viable for launch.
Sketching for Data Review and User Involvement
To address the features most important to the participants, design should focus on safety and security. It is important to redesign the Drive/Park, the Timeline, and Alert Screen in case of break-ins. Drive the feature that allows users to monitor their vehicle and record their journeys. Timeline allows for users to review their drivings scores accumulated during their drives and make adjustments to their driving habits. The alert screen to notify and prompt users to take actions they see, depending on the situation.
Testing for usability
Using a paper prototype and cardboard mock-up Caruma Cam, we tested our sketches and found some new issues that came to light and confirmed our assumptions.
When driving, users don't want added distractions, especially having to look at their phone. Drivers would rather review data, video recordings and scores at home at their leisure, not in their vehicle. Preferences and settings menus were not distinguishable enough. Users failed to see the connection between “drive mode” and the icon of a speedometer.
Designing for Safety & Security over Connectivity & Entertainment
We created a simple, minimal designed app that interacts with the Caruma Cam hardware to assist the driver by providing user feedback at the appropriate times, without distracting users during their daily commute. We designed onboarding screens that introduce the hand gestures for manual recording with the Caruma Cam and prevent cold starts for new users.
The timeline gives users access to driving data at a glance with bar graphs and colors to indicate driving score results. Being able to glance at secondary drivers will put parents at ease, knowing their teen and young adult drivers are safe. Caruma Cam is an amazing product, and our possible solutions are only a glimpse of the opportunities this emerging technology will bring.
Solution: We created minimal, simplistic designs, using clear affordances to guide the user through specific tasks, with safety and security leading our design.