As one of the largest automakers in the world, Nissan prides itself on making cars that are “more efficient, more beautiful, more inspiring and more human.” To create such a remarkable product, Nissan continuously pushes the boundaries of collaboration by opening up their design approach for certain car models to design centers located outside of their home country of Japan. The result are cars that are equipped with the most innovative and exciting features, and prove successful in a diverse, global market.
Nissan asked Method to create the in-car system for a new, luxury hybrid concept car set to be unveiled at a 2012 auto show. This interface would be an evolution of the work Method had done for Nissan previously, which focused on creating concepts to illustrate the possibilities for a next generation graphical user interface (GUI) across several platforms.
Using images of the the concept car's interior for inspiration, Method began working on the interface. In-car systems pose several design challenges. Design decisions not only need to differentiate the experience and integrate with existing hardware, but must also consider safety and driver versus passenger user experiences. The Method team designed for an in-car experience that would allow the driver and passengers to easily find what they wanted and needed, from the basics such as navigation and adjusting temperature to finding nearby restaurants and gas stations and an app store for future features.
While a touch-screen can offer an infinite canvas, Method needed to balance touch-screen usage with the hard buttons used by everyday drivers--the ones they can reference without taking their eyes off the road. By designing large, sophisticated touch zones sectioned off into distinct areas on the screen, the interface allows for easier and safer interaction.
As the heart of the in-car experience, the concept car's interface needed to look and feel in sync with both the interior and exterior of a luxury Nissan car. Directly inspired by the car's existing features, such as lights and textured surfaces, as well as premium elements, such as leather, Method designed a unique and beautiful visual language appropriate in a high-end vehicle. Additionally, Method created a motion study to display how the concept car's main interface would work, as well as elegantly integrate Nissan's core applications and widgets.
Method's concept car work gave Nissan's stakeholders a clear understanding for what could be possible for the in-car system for the luxury hybrid concept car. These concepts guide internal and external efforts around aligning stakeholders and driving a product vision for the future of Nissan's in-car computing experience. The GUI was showcased at car shows across the US in 2012.
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