Designing user-centered interactions & experiences

Shift : Defining interaction for pure driving experience

Interface for electric vehicle concept




Sami Laiho ( Finland, Transportation Design) Yuanrai Li (China/Norway, Interaction Design)


5 weeks, Spring 2016, Umeå Institute of Design


Interface Design, Human-Machine Interaction, User experience, Automobile


In the era of autonomy, some people would be still passionate about driving. Some people would be still eager to hold steering wheel. What if Volkswagen vehicle still performs its core function?  A pure driving experience might be a bold answer. “Shift” is a concept vehicle with a sporty spirit that pushes the joy of driving to extreme.

The project was done in collaboration with Volkswagen. The vehicle's exterior and interior was designed by Sami Laiho, transportation design student. Yuanrai and I was responsible for the user interface and concept development for the vehicle.


Shift : Free yourself

The Volkswagen shift concept focuses on providing pure driving experience to the driver. The interface offers the choice to unplug from the world and enjoy driving. The driver can choose to switch between modes to enhance driving experience. The vehicle's body blend virtual and physical elements.

CONCEPT: Choice to switch between modes

The graphical language gels with the vehicle exterior and interior. The graphical display takes a form of a cluster that allows driver to access the information. Information display without distraction is the key. The driver can choose between two modes: connect and disconnect controlled by the knob.



Connected Mode

SHIFT’s dashboard is a clean canvas when off. When the car is in drive mode and knob is rotated, the entire panel illuminates and becomes a live display for clustered information in an instance. The driver can freely adjust the size and position of the meters, gauges and car navigation information on the instrument screen.

Disconnected Mode

In disconnected mode, only necessary information is displayed for the driver to focus on the driving experience. In this mode, information load is cut down. Minimal information is displayed on the vehicle’s hood and further gets reduced into linear visual manner.


Switch between the modes

One of the special features allows the driver to freely make information disappear by rotating the knob. It dilutes on the hood of the vehicle. All driver sees is a steering wheel, an accelerator and minimal information.



DETAILS: Dashboard UI


Vehicle Information

The screen panel behind the steering wheel displays car cluster. These elements include indication of car's battery status, tire conditions etc. The navigation shows the driver's destination and related information to it.



The center panel consist of various widgets. It consists of elements such as daily feed highlighting news etc, Communication summarizes the mails, calls and social networking updates. Media consists of music player. The widgets become active when plus symbol is pressed.


Engaging Co-passenger

The dashboard occupy co-passenger also with lively and light applications which offer services to shop, play, read comics and watch videos.


Speed Display

Only speed is displayed on the vehicle’s hood and further gets reduced into linear visual manner.


Display on the top

The speed gets displayed on the top of the bonnet of the vehicle.


Minimal information

The speed changes to minimal graphics to make it fun for the driver. Far the line on the bonnet, the higher the speed. When driver presses the lever, visuals gives the confirmation speed acceleration.


Approach : Scaled Prototyping

clustering of information and accessibility for the user

Checking one to one model

Defining package of the vehicle

Playing and building interface setup in the vehicle