Driving has historically been an incredibly disconnected experience. Aside from the primary task of getting from point A to point B, time spent in the vehicle is mostly time wasted.


While safely navigating between locations will always be the first priority for drivers, automotive customers want more from their in-vehicle experiences. This shift in consumer expectations has catalyzed automakers to focus on transforming the driving experience into a more connected, productive and interactive journey while still keeping safety at the forefront.

In mid-year 2023, Ford announced the launch of the 2024 Lincoln Nautilis. For the first time ever, Ford shared that the Nautilis would include a 48 inch display across the top of the entire dashboard. This large screen represents an entirely different hardware platform in the vehicle than most people are used to, which comes with some concerns but also a lot of opportunity.

Earlier that year, the Ford IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) team approached FordLabs to think about what experiences might be unlocked with this new screen in the car. The goal was to uncover a set of digital experiences that would make the panoramic screen one of the must have reasons for customers to buy a Ford.

The original ask from the IVI team was pretty open-ended. We were essentially tasked with coming up with just about any type of digital content that would increase the utility of panoramic screen, especially while driving.


Our team kicked things off with broad-based customer discovery work, which included user interviews, surveys, design experiments and more. Our earliest research focused on getting a better understanding of how customers interact with their devices today, the type of content they consume and how that might translate to the vehicle. As time went on, we narrowed our research down to more vehicle specific user behaviors and then ultimately putting our designs in front of people so we could iterate on that.

Throughout this process, we came up with dozens of different ideas, creating and testing designs with customers in simulated vehicle environments. I also worked closely with our FordLabs engineers to bring our most promising designs to life so we could demonstrate our ideas in actual vehicles.

While I can't share the specific ideas we worked on, I do want to share some of the lessons learned and exciting aspects of this work for me. Given our focus on in-vehicle digital experiences, this was a really unique type of project that relatively few designers get a chance to work on.


Here are some key things to note:

  • We played a pivotal role in shaping the fundamental interaction models that could define how customers engage with the content displayed on the screen 

  • We identified differentiated insights that IVI teams could use to inform their roadmap

  • We worked within a strict set of constraints with respect to driver safety and NHTSA requirements

  • We demonstrated and documented an iterative approach to IVI software development so other teams could learn from our ways of working










Driving has historically been an incredibly disconnected experience. Aside from the primary task of getting from point A to point B, time spent in the vehicle is mostly time wasted.


While safely navigating between locations will always be the first priority for drivers, automotive customers want more from their in-vehicle experiences. This shift in consumer expectations has catalyzed automakers to focus on transforming the driving experience into a more connected, productive and interactive journey while still keeping safety at the forefront.


In mid-year 2023, Ford announced the launch of the 2024 Lincoln Nautilis. For the first time ever, Ford shared that the Nautilis would include a 48 inch display across the top of the entire dashboard. This large screen represents an entirely different hardware platform in the vehicle than most people are used to, which comes with some concerns but also a lot of opportunity.


Earlier that year, the Ford IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) team approached FordLabs to think about what experiences might be unlocked with this new screen in the car. The goal was to uncover a set of digital experiences that would make the panoramic screen one of the must have reasons for customers to buy a Ford.


The original ask from the IVI team was pretty open-ended. We were essentially tasked with coming up with just about any type of digital content that would increase the utility of panoramic screen, especially while driving.


Our team kicked things off with broad-based customer discovery work and progressively narrowed our focus throughout the project. We did user interviews, surveys, buy a feature tests, usability tests and more.


Our earliest research focused on getting a better understanding of how customers interact with their devices today, the type of content they consume and how that might translate to the vehicle. As time went on, we eventually narrowed our research down to more vehicle specific user behaviors and then ultimately putting our designs in front of people so we could iterate on that.


Throughout this process, we came up with dozens of different ideas, creating and testing designs with customers in simulated vehicle environments. I also worked closely with our FordLabs engineers to bring our most promising designs to life so we could demonstrate our ideas in actual vehicles.


While I can't share the specific ideas we worked on, I do want to share some of the lessons learned and exciting aspects of this work for me. Given our focus on in-vehicle digital experiences, this was a really unique type of project that relatively few designers get a chance to work on.


Here are some key things to note:

  • We played a pivotal role in shaping the fundamental interaction models that could define how customers engage with the content displayed on the screen 

  • We identified differentiated insights that IVI teams could use to inform their roadmap

  • We worked within a strict set of constraints with respect to driver safety and NHTSA requirements

  • We demonstrated and documented an iterative approach to IVI software development so other teams could learn from our ways of working










Ford IVI

Designing for digital experiences delivered via a 48 inch infotainment screen in the vehicle

Team

2 Designers

1 Product Manager

2 Engineers

Timeline

2023

Tools

Figma, UserTesting

Ford IVI

Designing for digital experiences delivered via a 48 inch infotainment screen in the vehicle

Team

2 Designers

1 Product Manager

2 Engineers

Timeline

2023

Tools

Figma, UserTesting

*This image is here only to demonstrate what the screen looks like, does not include any design work we did*

*This image is here only to demonstrate what the screen looks like, does not include any design work we did*