• expert review
  • target setting

Target setting for automotive UI development

Provide input for an automotive development process using expert reviews of automotive functions.


Our client is a UK brand well known for its carefully thought-through, user-friendly products. New to the automotive industry, our client wants to enter the e-vehicle premium market within three years. Their request was to quickly learn about worst and best practices from competitor cars to inform their development process, as well as, to set targets for UX quality of key use cases of their new HMI.


Acknowledging time constraints, we suggested an expert-based evaluation of relevant car models, rather than a participant-based study. Our automotive experts run hundreds of interviews with participants in cars each year, so they have a solid understanding of what users expect from their car’s HMI and how they typically approach tasks.


Within two weeks, we delivered a comprehensive overview, not only of the availability of specific features the client was interested in, but also of the best and worst practices for each relevant use case in top-tier cars.

Utilizing expert evaluation to generate reliable metrics

The challenge for this specific project was to provide fact-based feedback that would be akin in quality to feedback that could be gained from participants in a large-scale study. We decided to utilize the car HMI knowledge gathered by three of our most experienced experts in the automotive field in a way that would eliminate any personal bias.

In collaboration with our client’s team, our study manager defined the use cases that would be reviewed by each export.

After, the study manager reviewed the tested vehicles’ HMI and documented the possible paths to task completion for each use case. The goal of this exercise was to later enable the weighing of usability ratings by the percentage chance that a user would actually encounter it (e.g. if an issue was only present in one of three possible paths to task completion, the severity of the issue would be weighted accordingly). In combination with our three-point scale for issue severity, this allowed each issue to be graded with a specific score representative for the expected impact of any issue.

“We supported the development process of a new automotive OEM with expert review-based insights of competitor cars.”

While the study manager set up the methodology in cooperation with our client, we gained access to the cars that the client was interested in evaluating. We regularly partner with several specialized car providers who deliver both make and model, and also vehicles with specific features. One of our long-time partners delivered the cars within a very short period.

Our automotive HMI experts evaluated each of the cars. They noted any usability issues and identified best practice solutions. In addition, they gathered metrics such as time on task and steps required for task completion. The evaluation phase was completed within two days.

The study manager (who was not part of the evaluation team), combined the three individual scores from the reviewers into single scores. The team then conducted a group review to sort out any discrepancies identified.

We ultimately provided a quality score for each of the relevant use cases and several worst and best practice examples.


Because of our results, the client set a target for their own development process. They planned to use the same methodology to directly compare HMI performance between cars. As our rating process was well documented, our client evaluated their HMI as part of the development process without their prototype having to leave the facility.

The worst and best practices identified for their interface designers what pitfalls to avoid and what implementation to emulate.


Jan Panhoff

Jan started working as a UX professional in 2004 after finishing his M.Sc. in Digital Media. For more than 10 years, he supported eBay as an embedded UX consultant. Jan’s main focus at uintent is automotive and innovation research.

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