Redesigning the Volvo Sensus system

Although many might agree that the Volvo Sensus system is one of the better and most user friendly in-car user interfaces currently on the market, there might still be some room for improvement. In this article I will therefore propose a redesigned version with improved usability and design.

The current design is unobtrusive and easy to understand, but on closer inspection we can find some design choices that are understandable, but not optimal.

First let’s take a look at the current design and the different functionalities.

Current Volvo Sensus home screen

The home screen is the starting point of the system and provides an overview of the primary information that a driver should have at hands while using the vehicle. According to Volvo, this overview should at least show information about navigation, media, the connected phone, an optimized sound experience and temperature control.

Placing the navigation information on top of the home screen is understandable and this is the area closest to the eyes of the driver.  Although the home screen is easy to understand, various questionable design choices come to mind, of which the most obvious might be including settings for the sound experience. In my opinion, this is secundairy information at the most and can be placed in a deeper menu.

Furthermore,  the goal of a home screen should not only be to provide primary information, but also make it possible for the user to act on this information. In the above situation, naking a phone call needs active attention from the driver and various taps on the screen.  The same is true for the media settings. Including album art might look good, but can be a distraction to the driver and causes visual clutter.

The temperature control in the bottom is always at the same location as this is a primary function.

The goal of a home screen should not only be to provide primary information, but also make it possible for the user to act on this information.

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