A glimpse of the Corvette's
virtual mechanic, in the
To answer that question, we created the 30-day UI challenge. In a nutshell, we gave Lixar, a mobile UI company, a month to create new skins for the Corvette's head unit.
But here's the thing: Lixar didn't have any experience using the QNX OS. Nor did they have any experience in the automotive market. If a small team at Lixar could pull this off, the argument went, so could any automotive customer with good UI developers on hand.
I've already posted several articles on this project and received lots of great feedback. One reader even drew cool mockups (see here and here) to show how he would redesign the UI!
Keep in mind, however, that we didn't ask Lixar to re-think the UI, but rather, to re-skin it — to give it a fresh look that captures the spirit of the Corvette. This is exactly the kind of thing an automaker would often want to do: Take an existing UI and tune it to match the brand image of multiple vehicle models. Re-use rather than re-invent.
So without further ado, here are some before and after screenshots of the head unit. I've had to shrink the screenshots to fit the layout of my blog, so they aren't quite as sharp and as smooth as the originals. A fair representation, nonetheless:
Main menu, before...
Main menu, after:
HVAC controls, before...
HVAC controls, after:
MP3 player, before...
MP3 player, after:
I don't know about you, but to me, the new skins seem punchier and easier to navigate, visually speaking. That said, you be the judge.
Before I go, here's the "making of" video filmed to document the project: