I needed to envision a new application or digital feature for Volkswagen semi-autonomous self-driving car.
Develop an elevator pitch for the idea explaining the benefits for Volkswagen and to customers (Business model). Which are the competitive advantages vs. solutions in the market? Which are the advantages and areas to take into account while implementing digital features for a connected car vs. self-driving cars (pros and cons).
I had 7 days to deliver a presentation with a prototype.
I first I needed to know what topic or problem to solve, and I thought real users would have the answer so I compiled a variety of issues regarding to connectivity in a car such as Stop the car, Traffic jam, Music connection, Answer messages, Petrol Stations, Call a contact, Car maintenance, Reconfigure Seats and I launched a 24h survey.
The key findings were that the main age range was from 25 to 34 years old. The impact of the problem on their life was rated 7-8 aout of 10 and a broad majority voted for this as it was a 60%. The frequency on how often they have this issue is 1 a week. Over 50% of the users were willing to pay from 15 to 30k on a brand new car. So this sets us a possible type of target. At last, the pain problems most picked were:
42% prefers arriving on time and not to get stuck into a traffic jam. And it totally make sense because getting to your destination is the main purpose of a car.
Survey key findings
This lead me to do some competitive analysis, you most certainly know about Google Maps is a very useful tool for getting to your destination as quickly as possible. One way it accomplishes this is by predicting traffic and calculating the fastest route. This can be done by all the data collected from our phones activating the ‘location’ services and sending them to Google headquarters to process.
Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. You can Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone’s time on their daily commute. This 2 apps are used by so many users, knowing that only google maps has 1000 millions of users connected per month I explored then the second issue most voted.
Which is Music connection. 33% of users prefers to save time trying to connect their favourite music. And furthermore I asked Qualitative Questions like As a copilot or a passenger have you ever had an specific need? Did you ever thought ‘I would definitely improve this…’ in a car? And a lot of people that didn’t even select the music connection as a pain point responded that they would make easier the phone connectivity with the car screen. That they would like to control the music in the back seats and as a copilot. To synchronise Spotify in the car and also that they would like to see the list directly on the car screen.
Now, taking this notes into account, I present you our User Persona, Nuria Domínguez, she is 32 years old, separated from Madrid. She works as a blood analyst in a hospital.
Music is essential to Nuria’s life. She listens to tunes almost all the time. Likes to go to concerts very often. Her main motivation is to go on a ski trip with her friends twice a month. She needs to find a solution to rely the music on her friends so she can concentrate on the road. “I want to switch the music from my headphones to my car on my way to work”
To understand better Nuria’s pain I created a User journey. Let’s imagine that Nuria finishes work time, she listen to music on her headphones on her way to the car. She gets inside and has hard time connecting the music and that annoys her quite a lot.
But then she picks up her friends to go to a ski trip and that makes her mood go up again. But once they are on the road her friends can’t select some music to play on and that annoys them so in the end Nuria has to manage the phone to select music and gets distracted.
Car drivers & passengers need a convenient way to connect their favourite music on a car because they want a fun, collaborative and safer trip
Ways to connect
Now let’s rewind and have a look at how users can connect spotify on a car.
First there is the Aux cable, then there is the bluetooth and last there is the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Now, I have to clarify that I didn’t know anything at all about this apps nor any of the existing VW apps.
HOW MIGHT WE…
Sketches and Wireframes
The first paper prototype that I thought of focused on the Android Auto app including a wireless connection button to be more collaborative. This is the user flow, the first stage is to set-up the wireless connection that the user would do it only once because the system would save it. But then, I asked myself ‘how can we connect to a Wifi connection in a car?’
Basically there are 3 options. 1 is to get a car stick, 2nd a sim card that you can insert into your car and at last you can create a hotspot from your phone and share it with the car and rest of the people.
One way to solve it could be a rear Screen as the back passengers could control the car screen with some functionalities. In this case the spotify account used would be the same one for all. But what happens if a client doesn’t want to pay for this extra units? Could users have access from their own mobile phones?
At first I thought about Spotify Connect. It’s a functionality for premium users were you can send your music to play on any wireless device, and that could include a wifi car. But this option has a couple of issues. 1st any passenger can take over control to the others as long as they are on the same wifi and that could create conflict and 2nd we miss the collaborative queue list were all the users can add songs to listen further on the trip, unless you create a collaborative group list with your friends which can be a viable option.
So I digged further to see if there was an existing solution to take control on the media car screen and I discovered Volkswagen Media control app. This app allows you to remotely control some of the functionalities of a car screen. Based on the insights I have implemented Spotify on this app so the back passengers can add songs to the queue list.
1st Nuria Connects a carstick to get Wifi on her car then, Nuria and her friend will try to connect to their favourite music with the car from their phone and add a song to the queue list.