The Tesla Dashboard Reimagined

The year is 2015 and if this is what your current dash looks like than either you have a good indestructible car or life hasn’t been that good to you: 

Everything about this dash screams 90’s. The bubbly toggles, sliders, and knobs was great UX for it’s time. The reason this picture above is great UX is because car manufactures had to design a great experience that was 100% tactile. When you pressed a button or moved a slider you felt things. You felt little bumps, or maybe even a click. Either way these movements and sounds was the feedback that made the driver feel in control. They let a user know that they are actually doing things without any lights or alerts. This is something that Apple is trying to bring back with taptic feedback.

See back in the day we didn’t have taptic feedback, digital displays, gps, colorful light up info screens, Wi-Fi, controls for heated seats, bluetooth, etc, etc.

Let me check the scores while I'm cutting through traffic.
Let me check those MLB scores while I’m cutting through traffic.

Enter Tesla: The Car of the Future

Tesla is leading the way we think of new energy cars. You can tell just by looking at it that it’s not only stylish but is capable of driving itself, change suspension at a whim, and talk to you like Night Rider (not yet, but soon…). But when we step inside the Tesla the first thing that draws your attention is the huge hunk of screen sitting dead center of the cars dash.

Top google searches in a Tesla: "What's the speed limit", "What's the alcohol limit", "How to get out of a speeding ticket"
Top google searches in a Tesla: “What’s the speed limit”, “What’s the alcohol limit”, “How to get out of a speeding ticket”

With all the screen real estate you can definitely do some damage… literally. So what’s the point of having an IMAX in your car? Nothing, if you don’t know how to design for it properly. Let’s dive into the flaws of Tesla’s mistakes and how we can correct them.

It seems every year cars come out with 10-20 new features. They can change from automatic to manuel, they can slow down when approaching a pedestrian, they can even run semi-autopilot. The issue is with all this control you give the driver all the rope to hang themselves with. There’s a lot to think about when looking at the information that’s provided at any given time. We should only give the user the option to do things when it’s relevant.

Making things DEAD SIMPLE to understand

Sweet! Skeuomorphism!
Sweet! Skeuomorphism!

Answer me this, by looking at the image above can you guess what the treble clef with a plus button does? How about the Cancel icon right next to it? Lastly why is there a heart with a plus icon proceed with another heart icon 2 inches above it? These questions come up while the user is driving. The more icons thrown at the driver the more the user has to think, and the more the user has to think the more driver gets frustrated. At first they see the pretty big glassy buttons and are excited. They see all the things they’re used to and feel comfortable but slowly start to feel less comfortable when they dive deeper into the user interface. This is called the learning curve.

Teslaaa staaaahhhp!
Teslaaa staaaahhhp!

Enter the new dashboard

This UX simplifies the drivers experience. While driving you need the dash to be as minimal and distraction free as possible. No websites, 100’s of controls, infinite music scrolling, or large scale complicated maps.

The New Tesla interface

The controls are based on upon what a car driver is already used to while adding a touch slider for changing AC controls, volume, etc. The best thing about this design is it’s grid. Every section has a burst of relatable controls. This means that things can be changed, edited, updated separately on the fly without ever moving away from the home screen.

Less fiddling, less crashing.