Volkswagen x AAU

In collaboration with the  Industrial Department of Academy of Art University, Volkswagen sponsored the multi-disciplinary Automotive UI course which I was selected to be a part of. Students from Industrial Design, Interior Architecture Design and Web Design & New Media (WNM) worked in teams to explore solutions for long distance mobility in the future of 2050.

My Role

UX Researcher & Designer


User Interviews, Competitive Research, Wireframing, Prototyping, User Testing


High Fidelity Prototype


I was chosen to be the WNM (Web Design and New Media) representative for the Global Team, Kinship.

9 out of 10

long-distance trips were made in a personal vehicle


trips were made primarily for pleasure purposes

Source: Bureau of Transportations Statistics



  • Family of four with a Sprinter van who travel for camping during vacations
  • A couple with Ford van who make camping trips frequently and recently travelled for 3 months
  • A couple who custom built their van from an ambulance and travelled across the 49 states for 18 months

Research Questions

  • What are the problems they currently face with respect to the vehicle and other resource needs they had during their travel?

  • What does their ideal vehicle and travel experience look like?
What are their thoughts on fully autonomous cars and how that might change their
travel experience?



We want a vehicle that is powerful enough for off-road experiences and can drive well in town.

Storage is important for us.

We want alternative energy sources.

How can we strike a balance between comfort and practicality?

How can we efficiently add storage spaces without sacrificing too much space for it within the vehicle?

How can we incorporate Electric, Solar, Gas generator and other alternative energy sources and ensure reliable supply of fuel


We will look at the scenery, do things we would normally do if the car drove itself.

How will my vehicle know my intent when I want to go off-road somewhere?

Move the parking spaces away from where people want to be at, especially endangered natural ecosystems

Instead of taking attention away from the road, how can in-car entertainment enrich people's experience of interacting with the road?

How might we design the vehicle that people still have the option to drive when they want to?

What will be the new experience be like if people do not need to have their vehicle parked near to them?


Our most memorable moments from travel involve making connections with new people.

This is a lifestyle with a severe learning curve. Self-reliability is the key.

Part of the fun about doing this was that not a lot of people were doing it. The experience and places were only amazing because they weren't abused.

How can we help people make new connections and dive into new cultures without losing the organic nature of these experiences?

How can we help take some pressure off the self?

How do we ensure that as we empower more people to explore, we also take responsibility of not disturbing pristine ecosystems?

We are seeking the balance between experiencing the ultimate freedom versus having to stay within the parameters of life


The Volkswagen representatives we spoke to wanted to steer away from the cliched neon blue and dark themed UIs. Along with that, our research also showed that people valued long distance travel to stay connected to other humans and nature. This prompted us to explore themes of biophilia for brand and UI guidelines.


The color palette needed to be versatile enough for each of the teams to be able to represent themselves uniquely yet be perceived as belonging to the same holistic bigger picture.


1. Use text sparingly; as an accompaniment to voice and for increased accessibility.

2. Use color and type to establish clear visual hierarchy and highlight the main task to be done.

3. The vehicle is your companion, the voice and tone of the copy should reflect the relationship the user has with their vehicle.

4. Input should be multi-modal. The user should have the ability to interact with the vehicle by voice, physical buttons, air gestures and touch.

5. Display information contextually so the user is not inundated with information.

The user interface should appear friendly and adhere with the principles of biophilia. Refrain from using sharp angles and neon or unnatural colors.

Click here for Final Website