A multimodal navigation system that uses contextual sensory information to redefine the driving experience.
UX, IXD, Voice, Motion & Brand
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Current car navigation systems distract you with complex visual information and unnatural voice instructions that take your attention off the road. We designed a car navigation system that utilizes multiple modes of communication to reduce cognitive load and make a safer, better driving experience.

My Role

I was a UX & motion designer on a team of 4. I collaborated with my team to uncover research insights and provided creative vision to catalyze the concept development process. I collaborated with 2 team members to develop and integrate natural voice interactions with visual UI components for an optimal user experience. I partnered with 1 other designer to develop a visual UI and prototype our concept with motion graphics. I also worked independently to create the logo and visual identity of the product.

11/2016 - 12/2016 (3 weeks)
Brian Orlando
Brandon Caruso
Terrie Chan


problem space

Since the mid-2000s, device-related distraction has resulted in a significant increase of automotive accidents and crash fatalities. It is estimated that device use while driving increases the likeliness of an accident by over four times and is implicated in as many as 1.6 million accidents per year.NSC

Distraction occurs when an activity causes a driver to divert their attention from the driving task to focus on another activity, such as adjusting console controls or using mobile devices. While policymakers have attempted to discourage mobile device use on the road through education and legal guidelines, the continued willingness of motorists to engage in this risky behavior clearly suggests a tangible value that must be understood and provided for in a safe and effective manner.



We had only a week to spend on research so there was a tangible sense of urgency toward our process. We began by dividing aspects of our problem space amongst our team so we could rapidly apprise ourselves of the latest social, cultural, technological, and policy trends. We then focused on understanding context and user behavior through ethnographic exploration and observation. This allowed us to quickly gain a sense of our problem space and frame opportunities.



Literature review

We reviewed literature from a variety of business, government, and online sources to learn about the trends and latest developments related to our problem. This led us to understand how the discord between human senses and technology creates driving hazards and led us to focus on reducing cognitive load as a primary concern.


Competitive Analysis

We explored current and proposed market solutions to understand how competitor offerings reveal opportunities.


Contextual Inquiry

We explored several car navigation systems in person to identify their pain points in action. We noticed how unnatural current systems are and identified several technological opportunities for improvement.

Key Research Insights:

  1. Navigation systems need to be in sync with the user's sensory context to provide safe and accurate driving information.
  2. Complex, information-intensive displays increase cognitive load and impair the abilities of drivers.
  3. Current navigation systems don't adjust to the emotional demeanor of a driver, which can further distraction.

Text-heavy displays take the drivers eyes off the road.

Complex nav systems create high cognitive load for the driver.

Colorful infotainment systems compete for a driver's attention.

Problem Statement:

How might we create a responsive, personalized navigation experience that accounts for a driver's context?



We began brainstorming by discussing and whiteboarding concepts as a team to explore opportunities and form our general concept. We then reviewed UI concepts and translated ideas into sketches and storyboards to visually communicate our intended experience.




We used our whiteboarding sessions to explore the potential of utilizing a multimodal system to reduce cognitive load. This allowed us to align system functionality with their optimal uses to make the navigation experience more intuitive.


UI Review

I partnered with 1 other designer to explore current and proposed automotive UI solutions and identify the forms that best reflect our intended features.

concept generation


Concept Sketching

We created concept sketches to map system features to UI components and explore visual identity. above sketch by Brian Orlando.

Concept Statement:

Oslo is a contextually-aware driving assistant that utilizes multiple lines of communication to simplify navigation.



We developed a video prototype over a rapid two-week process to communicate our vision to stakeholders. This required strong teamwork to write a script, record narration, and produce motion graphics on a tight deadline. The process culminated in a prototype peer review.

Visual System

oslo logo A diagram that shows the stylistic elements of the application


oslo visual interface

Key Design Features:

  1. Voice Assistant.

    Oslo accommodates you with natural voice instructions that make use of environmental cues and personal settings to simplify navigation.

  2. Contextual HUD Display.

    The contextual heads-up-display provides you with the most relevant directional information on your windshield as you need it so you can keep your eyes on the road.

  3. Haptic Feedback.

    Oslo improves driver safety with haptic feedback in the steering wheel and directional audio cues to help you quickly locate hazardous situations as they occur.

Responsive Dashboard
A simplified dashboard responds to the driver's surroundings to provide immediate route adjustments with turn-by-turn map, ETA, and other useful information.

Contextual HUD Display
Turn-by-turn directions move from the steering console up to a HUD display with a progress indicator to provide the driver with updates while their eyes remain fixed on the road.

Haptic Feedback Alert
Oslo uses haptic feedback in the steering column and directional audio cues to alert the driver to dangerous situations as they occur.

Oslo Concept Video


thoughts & lessons

The merging of communications technology with information systems has changed, not only how we use our vehicles, but how we relate to them. The nature of driving, which once embodied a sense of independence and freedom, is now complicated by a myriad of devices that compete for our attention.

While technology affords us greater convenience, it often comes at the expense of increased complexity. In many facets of life this is a welcome trade-off. However, when the demands of technology surpass our threshold for attention, it can become burdensome. In no situation is this more evident than driving, which can push our attention to the brink. While some celebrate emerging technologies like self-driving cars as the solution to this complexity, these technologies simplify driving by disempowering people.

With Oslo we wanted to give the user more control by reducing cognitive demands and simplifying interaction. Given the short deadline for this project, I am pleased that we were able to achieve this while also improving convenience. I hope that this project may serve as an example of how technology can empower drivers and provide an alternative to purely autonomous solutions. While the concept is currently hypothetical, the technologies are real and feasible. If we were to move forward with this concept we would need to integrate proposed features with current platforms and build a working prototype to test with drivers. Future technologies may continue to capture our collective imagination, but perhaps the most useful won't need our attention.