} ;

LA Forum 2018: The Control Panel

29 November 2018 | by Chris Maillard

The third session of our LA Forum was all about the communication between a car and its occupants; UX, HMI and other methods of driving, navigating or just finding out what a vehicle’s doing as it drives you intelligently to your destination. (If you've missed our coverage of the day’s other sessions, the first one is here and the second here).

Moderating was industry guru David Muyres, who has the impressive job title of Mobility Futurist and knows an awful lot about the areas of interiors and UX, thanks to many years of experience with big industry names like Johnson Controls and Yanfeng. David contributed some pithy and relevant insights to the session, posing a few questions that gave the panellists pause for deep thought.

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Dave Marek, Executive Creative Director of Acura, started off the presentations with an absolutely stunning and incredibly information-rich barrage of slides detailing the processes that his team go through to get from customer needs to a fleshed-out idea and then eventually a finished product. It involved a huge amount of research, lots of innovative techniques, and a range of thinking from down-to-earth right up to very abstract indeed.

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Next was a thoughtful and occasionally emotional plea from Lars Falk, Head of Interior Design and Creative UX Design at Geely, for design to take note of real-life moments rather than concentrating entirely on convincing people to stare at a screen. Contrasting the virtual, on-screen world with the true magic of personal connection, he had a fresh and heartfelt take on the encroachment of digital objects into everybody’s lives.

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As a contrast, FCA’s User Experience Design Manager, Brad Gieske, took us from Scandinavian sincerity to the make-believe world of Hollywood (we were in LA, after all), cleverly tying FCA’s Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands into the film genres of Action, Adventure and Western, and explaining how their respective UX interfaces defined each brand’s characters, from performance readouts on the Dodge muscle cars to advice on when to catch the local football game on the Ram (not to mention helping you to play your Johnny Cash collection).

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Finally, Nissan’s Global Senior Vice President of Design, Alfonso Albaisa, brought a calm and beautifully crafted presentation which looked spectacularly elegant on the venue’s enormous screen. Touching on his presentation at our most recent Tokyo Forum, his charmingly personal talk showed a highly interactive UX system, which both linked out to partner sites for, for instance, getting a cup of coffee, showed life-like navigation aids, but also got out of the way in a very neat and pleasing style when something more urgent needed attention. Alfonso is one of our industry’s deepest thinkers and most skilled explainers, and his presentation was a superb high point on which to close.

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We’ll be revisiting many of the people, ideas and presentations from our Forum in more depth before too long, so keep an eye on our website to see more of the great ideas that our attendees saw in LA.

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LA 2018