Elevating In-Car Experiences: Out Of The Box HMI

Scrum methodology illustration

We had the awesome opportunity to be part of an ideation session focused on the soon-to-be-launched ID.Buzz. Our mission? To explore fresh avenues for its Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and onboard features, considering both B2B possibilities for companies and B2C potential for individuals. I together with my colleague had two days to come up with our suggestion.

Why ID.Buzz?

ID.Buzz combines the retro heritage of VW with the new technologies:

1. It's futuristic.

What can we offer that would be valuable for businesses and individuals in terms of it's functions.

2. It's cool but so are the competitors

There needs to be a way how ID.Buzz clearly stands out with it's HMI functionality.

The goal was set and we had to move fast. We mapped out steps that could get to the final result smoothly.

  1. Research
  2. Benchmarking
  3. User needs and functions
  4. Customer Journey
  5. Personas
  6. Ideation
  7. Presentation
Different UI assets in a isometric view


Our journey kicked off with a deep dive into the world of Human-Machine Interface (HMI) trends within electric vehicles. Naturally, we couldn't miss the eye-catching trend of those expansive screens in every car, but a glaring issue emerged: while driving, these screens posed potential distractions and safety concerns.

Our exploration then ventured into the realm of HMI technology. We examined the current landscape and explored avenues for implementing novel solutions to enhance the user experience. Drawing insights from our investigations, we distilled our observations into five pivotal problem statements that charted our course forward:

  1. How do we engineer a touchscreen that's driver-friendly, ensuring safety while on the road?
  2. How can we streamline interactions with vital settings and functions, minimising clicks?
  3. How might we encourage drivers to keep their focus on the road rather than the screen?
  4. How do we simplify the engagement process with the car display, making it intuitive for all?
  5. Can we infuse a touch of personalisation and enjoyment into the interaction through the car display?


Our exploration led us to delve into extensive research conducted by other titans in the automotive industry. Among the findings, two distinctive avenues emerged, each presenting intriguing directions. The first addressed our very challenge—how to navigate the realm of sizeable screens without compromising safety and focus. The second direction, equally captivating, arose from a unique perspective.

Given that the rapid charging of electric vehicles is still a developing arena, the time spent in stationary cars is noticeably extended. This presented a vital insight: the need to transform these moments into enjoyable and productive experiences. With this in mind, our focus shifted towards crafting a stay within the vehicle that is not just functional, but also delightful.

With drivers spending, on average, 500 hours in their cars annually, the interior and related services can be as much as a differentiator for buyers as engine size or style.
UI screens of a fixed UX flow

User Needs And Personas

After thorough research and a comprehensive competitive analysis, we arrived at a definitive conclusion that set our path forward. Given the project's time constraints, we reached out to our colleagues to gain insights into their car-related needs and preferences. Merging their inputs with our own findings, a clear direction emerged.

Our strategy crystalised into several key points:

  • Introducing a personalised in-car assistant.
  • Exploring the potential of in-car services for both B2B and B2C realms.
  • Identifying and addressing fundamental user needs in the context of car usage.
  • Determining the essential elements to be incorporated into the HMI (Human-Machine Interface).
  • Enabling drivers to customise their car experience to reflect their preferences.
  • Prioritising basic user needs like safety and ease of use.
  • Anticipating diverse use cases including car sharing, travel, and business applications.

This collection of insights led to the creation of two distinctive personas that will guide our design journey:

  1. Weekend Traveler: An individual who relies heavily on car sharing and doesn't own a personal vehicle. This persona is well-versed in their destinations, expecting the car to provide helpful tips for their journeys.
  2. DHL Worker: A professional who utilises the car not just for carrying packages, but also harnesses the bespoke HMI system to enhance work efficiency.

These personas now take the lead in steering our design process, ensuring that our solutions are tailored to the real needs of users.

User Journey

To streamline our journey, we've distilled the essence of both personas into three pivotal stages that capture their distinct needs and aspirations:

Weekend Traveler:

  1. Before the Journey: As the adventure begins, route planning and loading loading the can with bags. Crafting a route that maximises charging points and incorporating bookings for activities ensure a seamless escapade.
  2. During the Journey: The journey unfolds with dynamic interactions. From curating the perfect soundtrack to receiving real-time notifications, even weaving in entertainment during the charging process with activity recommendations tailored to the location. Thoughtfully timed breaks further elevate the overall experience.
  3. After the Journey: Post-trip moments are equally cherished. A daily recap, efficient charging, a cozy retreat within the car, and a glance at travel costs round off the voyage.

DHL Worker:

  1. Before the Workday: Preparedness is key. Loading the van, charting a route optimised for charging, and engaging with destination insights lay the groundwork for a productive day.
  2. During the Workday: The road becomes a workspace. Deliveries, client communications, strategic charging pit stops, and quick interactions with the in-car helper ensure smooth operations.
  3. After the Workday: Wrapping up with a sense of accomplishment. A comprehensive daily overview, efficient charging strategies, unwinding within the car's comfort, and a quick review of travel costs wrap up the day.

These stages crystallize the real-world needs of our personas, guiding our efforts as we design an HMI that caters to their journeys.


With a wealth of information at hand, we're ready to dive into the world of prototyping. Given the constraint of presenting just two screens, we embarked on a thoughtful exploration to encapsulate the essence of our personas' needs.

Weekend Traveler:
Our focus honed in on the pit stop—charging the car. This moment proved perfect for showcasing the traveler's screen, revealing a world of recommendations for booking activities and shaping their weekend adventures.

DHL Worker:
For this persona, clarity was key. We crafted a screen designed exclusively for work-related information, devoid of any extraneous clutter.

Our Approach
:We began by mapping out functions on sticky notes, giving us a roadmap for our layout. Transitioning smoothly, we sketched a quick initial draft, aiming to move swiftly without getting bogged down in details.

In our quest, we found Android Auto to be an invaluable resource, with comprehensive documentation and a user-friendly Design System serving as our launchpad.

Final Product

Weekend Traveler:Our Weekend Traveler eagerly awaiting their car to charge en route to a surfing adventure. As they sit in the car, a world of recommendations opens up:

  • A quick overview of the charging progress.
  • A weather update to plan their day.
  • Exciting activity suggestions for the local area.
  • A map highlighting appealing surf spots along the way.

DHL Worker:For our DHL Worker, the scene shifts to their dynamic delivery routes:

  • A comprehensive map, marked with their current location and delivery zones.
  • A neatly organised list of recipients in each zone, offering options to call or message them directly from the car.
  • Incoming messages from colleagues conveniently displayed on the heads-up display.
  • All this seamlessly managed through the in-car voice-activated assistant.

In this way, we've tailored our product to meet the unique needs of both our Weekend Traveler and DHL Worker personas.