Reducing driver (user) loads, while maintaining a sense of control is key to improving the quality of the user experience and (to an extent) safety in the modern car cabin.

Land Rover’s UX has, let’s be kind, been somewhat inconsistent over the past few years and even with the arrival of the modern InControl Touch and InControl Touch Pro systems, it’s still not the most user friendly.

However, recent time in a fresh-off-the-line Discovery Sport, reminded us of an approach Jaguar Land Rover have been taking for some time, in one aspect of the car UX behaviour which leads the way.

When parking up at the end of a journey, the car has an uncanny ability to recognise that — yes you have actually parked for good, and proceeds to shut itself down. And when we say shut itself down, we mean select park, apply the electronic handbrake and switch off the engine fully — by itself.

Despite several hundred miles in the car, we never properly ascertained the circumstances in which the car decides to do this — it doesn’t seem dependent on you having performed a manoeuvre for instance, and yet it works flawlessly. The shut down never occurs when you don’t want it to, such as when you roll up to a traffic light.

And it did catch us out the first few times, where we reached for the start/stop button (to switch off, only to find we were actually waking the car back up again). Areas like this, where the car effectively performs one task, relieving the driver of the need to do three separate things, are particularly nice UX touches. Not only do they remove ‘load’ from the driver, but they bake safety in (you don’t risk the car rolling away because you forgot to apply the handbrake). And perhaps most importantly of all, they communicate to the driver that their vehicle appears to have a certain amount of intelligence, a desire to look after them and save them hassle. In effect, this is a UX behaviour that is likely to increase the user’s emotional investment in the car.

Posted September 2017

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