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  • The latest TMC Podcast (#14) is now available on YouTube and all major podcast networks. We covered FSD Beta's exciting v11 update, Enhanced Autopilot coming to the U.S. and Canada, and more!

A Digital Designer's POV on V11

V11- Spotify scrubbing compact.gif


Long time lurker, first time posting here! I've had a Model 3 since May '18, and I've been a professional Designer (sometimes called UI/UX Designer and Product Designer) for several years now. I didn't expect Tesla to take so many basic steps back in driver usability, nor did I expect that as we approach April, Tesla hasn't reverted more changes.

From the POV of design, looking at usability, interaction, and accessible design, I wrote a case study detailing why V11 is a step back for basic usability in a Tesla.
(Btw, the prose and context there is for a very general audience and the design community vs terminology and context all of us here are highly familiar with)

TL;DR There’s three primary issues with V11’s design:​

  1. Burying numerous, previously glanceable and reachable items into menus such as “Quick” Controls requiring extra taps, and removing heated seats and defrost controls from the bottom bar
  2. Ergonomics, or lack thereof, for the new alerts and gestures that are blocked by the steering wheel
  3. Homogenized UI from previously distinguished buttons/actions, making for a greater cognitive load from the driver when needing to distinguish between a grid of buttons
I get the sense that there have been two different design leaders between V9 and V11. There's clear evidence of the lack of Information Architecture weighting as so many things like charging and tire pressure monitoring were buried in the Controls menu despite having differing importance in usage. That means Tesla's digital design team chose form over function with a lot of V11 choices.

Personally, the heated seat and media scrubbing are my two daily annoyances.

Semi-TL;DR:​

I have a Twitter thread with visual examples of the more prominent V11 design issues.

Here's to hoping Tesla hears us, and improves the design - and hopefully maturing their approach to digital design! It doesn't mean they still can't shake up in-car digital experiences as they have for 10 years. But to move forward now with more thoughtfulness on usability for a much, much larger and diverse ownership base.
 
I got my model 3 a month ago and I was shocked at how bad the UI/UX were. We have one screen, one option to control things in the car. And it is terrible. On top of being terrible, there is zero way to modify any of it. Easily my biggest disappointment with the car. Makes no sense how bad it is, with zero customizability on top of that you're just stuck with what you get.

Coming from a Chevy Volt which had a basic, ugly blue and green UI... I expected the Tesla with its huge screen from a "tech company" to blow me away by comparison. Much the opposite. Everything is hard to find, nothing I need is where I need it, I can't see the instantaneous energy usage, I can only have maps on the screen instead of both maps and some sort of energy usage info even though the screen has plenty of room...

Unless I'm crazy, I literally have to open the climate control menu which TURNS IT ON NO MATTER WHAT if I just want to turn on my seat heater?? Then I have to manually turn off the CC before closing the menu again. It makes literally no sense to me some of the decisions.
 
Developer who dabbles in UI here. I just got my M3 so never tried v10 but have been dismayed to see how much better it seems to have been. I expected the interface to be much more configurable and even my wife who is not tech savvy asked me if it was configurable.

I mostly don't need the car visualizer while driving whereas a configurable array of controls would be very useful. Here's hoping for future improvements.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,967
8,893
Seattle area, WA
View attachment 783588

Long time lurker, first time posting here! I've had a Model 3 since May '18, and I've been a professional Designer (sometimes called UI/UX Designer and Product Designer) for several years now. I didn't expect Tesla to take so many basic steps back in driver usability, nor did I expect that as we approach April, Tesla hasn't reverted more changes.

From the POV of design, looking at usability, interaction, and accessible design, I wrote a case study detailing why V11 is a step back for basic usability in a Tesla.
(Btw, the prose and context there is for a very general audience and the design community vs terminology and context all of us here are highly familiar with)

TL;DR There’s three primary issues with V11’s design:​

  1. Burying numerous, previously glanceable and reachable items into menus such as “Quick” Controls requiring extra taps, and removing heated seats and defrost controls from the bottom bar
  2. Ergonomics, or lack thereof, for the new alerts and gestures that are blocked by the steering wheel
  3. Homogenized UI from previously distinguished buttons/actions, making for a greater cognitive load from the driver when needing to distinguish between a grid of buttons
I get the sense that there have been two different design leaders between V9 and V11. There's clear evidence of the lack of Information Architecture weighting as so many things like charging and tire pressure monitoring were buried in the Controls menu despite having differing importance in usage. That means Tesla's digital design team chose form over function with a lot of V11 choices.

Personally, the heated seat and media scrubbing are my two daily annoyances.

Semi-TL;DR:​

I have a Twitter thread with visual examples of the more prominent V11 design issues.

Here's to hoping Tesla hears us, and improves the design - and hopefully maturing their approach to digital design! It doesn't mean they still can't shake up in-car digital experiences as they have for 10 years. But to move forward now with more thoughtfulness on usability for a much, much larger and diverse ownership base.
Elon is all glitz and glamor - form over function every single time. That is Tesla primary marketing model - do things which look sleek, advertise specs even if they are never met, for example 700hp P85D which turned out to be the theoretical number for only the motors (maybe floor mats too ;) ) rather than the entire drivetrain capability which would have required a 50% power upgrade to reach the advertised spec, or Plaid+ car announcement which beat Lucid in range, performance and price -then was canceled that after the press stopped talking about it. Fart mode feature is way easier to implement and generates way more media than an actual useful feature, especially if it's a feature other cars have had for a long time, such as reliable blind spot warning in a side mirror.

I am curious, have you experienced the yoke yet? For me it was the proverbial straw the broke the camel's back as far as wanting another Tesla (had enough frustration with UI getting ever-less-useful over time - I still remember v6 - way more functional and more responsive too).

PS> My Tesla is not running v11, but by wife's is - she hates it.
 
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I am curious, have you experienced the yoke yet? For me it was the proverbial straw the broke the camel's back as far as wanting another Tesla (had enough frustration with UI getting ever-less-useful over time - I still remember v6 - way more functional and more responsive too).

I've been meaning to take a Plaid for a test drive. With the lack of variable steering and the ergonomics needed for daily driving maneuvers paired with capacitive buttons makes for an alarmingly bad design choice on paper, with real world results confirming it. MKBHD's video discussed the yoke's issue quite well.
 

SabrToothSqrl

Active Member
Dec 5, 2014
3,974
3,490
PA
sometimes, I'll do something crazy in my car, like ya know, driving it, where I'll put my left hand on TOP of the WHEEL, and as it's coming down the left side of the wheel, turning my front wheels, I carefully, knowingly, bump the turn signal stalk, engaging the left turn , then, when safe, make a left hand turn.

I consider it a pretty strong flex on anyone who doesn't have a wheel in their car. The ease of motion, the smoothness. very subtle, but very controlled.
 
Hi, great post that is right on the money.

I am also in your field, I work as a Lead UX Designer for Air Traffic Control systems. V11 is a garbage fire of bad design. Really obvious low-hanging fruit is simply ignored in lieu of arbitrary choices that fly in the face of intuition. Take, for example, the heated steering wheel control, it’s not anywhere near the graphical representation of the steering wheel, instead quite randomly placed where the phone charging pad is on the climate graphic.
Next, the dreaded set heaters, the buttons are small, really small, and rear seat heat is now in a separate menu. Nuts.
For me, the worst is probably that error messages, wiper options or the blind spot camera are all placed in the bottom left of the display where my right hand usually blocks the sight line. Driving is considered mission-critical but when, with almost no visibility in a blizzard I used voice recognition to request the fog lights, the system hasn’t been updated to enable that. Amazing. The car has a fart simulator but I can’t enable lights without digging through menus.

I need controls for the activation sensitivity and frequency of the auto wipers, they can be dangerously ineffective in their current form. I need always on headlights (actually a legal requirement when driving in the Nordics). Driving functions are more valuable to be pinned at arm’s reach than an application launcher. I actually never use the thing!

V11 genuinely degraded the UX of operating the car when it was in dire need of improvement. Whoever is in charge at Tesla’s UI department needs to drive more, and play around less. As it stands I expect my next car may be something trying less hard.
 

Boza

2020 Model S LR+
Sep 24, 2021
761
1,278
Usa
My car is one of the last Ravens (end of 2020) and I was seriously considering trading it in for the new Plaid. Then I saw the yoke. I decided to hold on until I actually test drove a Plaid and I am super happy I did. I am double happy that, unintentionally, I bought at the tail end of Raven. I would be super miserable with the yoke - to the point that I would even go back to ICE, just to get rid of it.
I would not be surprised if the Plaids go down in value in a few years when viable alternatives with “full wheel” show up. In fact, even though they are selling like hot cakes now, I am concerned about the residual value of our cars a few years from now. There are other manufacturers, with a great track in quality, service, design, etc. that are starting to get pretty close to what Tesla now offers as technology.
 
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spokey

Active Member
Aug 8, 2020
1,121
685
Flagtown
I think Tesla is still way ahead of most for both range and charging. Granted 99% of the time I'm home charging. But it is borderline inconvenient in the MY. If it really got the 326 (or whatever is the current sales BS), I think that would be OK although 400 would be great.

When I went to Reading PA last Dec for my brother's 75th birthday I charged to 100. I managed the round trip without stopping but was in the teens when I got home. The total distance was about 210 miles. Granted it was cold but I can't imagine taking most of the competitors out of town.

I considered a Kona/Niro before I bought the MY and did not even test drive simply due to range. Sure glad I made that choice.

I think if Toyota gets their fuel cell technology ramped up that could be a game changer if they come out if a fuel cell / plug-in hybrid. Enough range to get around town 90+% of the time and quick fill ups on trips. I think switching to hydrogen 'gas' stations or even combo ICE/Hydrogen would be pretty easy to do. Plus plenty of opportunity for 'green' hydrogen generation. I could even see hybrid generation where you generate solar electricity and store some in batteries and some in hydrogen
 
I think if Toyota gets their fuel cell technology ramped up that could be a game changer if they come out if a fuel cell / plug-in hybrid. Enough range to get around town 90+% of the time and quick fill ups on trips. I think switching to hydrogen 'gas' stations or even combo ICE/Hydrogen would be pretty easy to do. Plus plenty of opportunity for 'green' hydrogen generation. I could even see hybrid generation where you generate solar electricity and store some in batteries and some in hydrogen
The most efficient hydrogen fuel cell system is only 1/3 as efficient as battery electric. Read fuel cell engineer Ulf Bossel's paper in the October 2006 Proceedings of the IEEE, "Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense?", where he demolishes the idea. The laws of physics make it dumb to use fuel cells except for niche applications, and cars aren't niche. Elon Musk most likely read Bossel's paper, and that prompted him to make the statement years ago that hydrogen fuel cells for cars are dumb. Yes, very dumb, but someone wants to sell you some high-pressure hydrogen because you're not going to be making any at home.

Bossel's paper at the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
 
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I think if Toyota gets their fuel cell technology ramped up that could be a game changer if they come out if a fuel cell / plug-in hybrid. Enough range to get around town 90+% of the time and quick fill ups on trips. I think switching to hydrogen 'gas' stations or even combo ICE/Hydrogen would be pretty easy to do. Plus plenty of opportunity for 'green' hydrogen generation. I could even see hybrid generation where you generate solar electricity and store some in batteries and some in hydrogen
If you want a car with high running cost, limited life, poor performance, and extremely compromised internal space utilization fuel cells are fantastic. Also, most of those are not really going to be easily improved upon, they are inherent in the physics of fuel cells. Fuel cells make a lot more sense for larger (non-consumer) vehicles, but for passenger cars they have already lost.
 

spokey

Active Member
Aug 8, 2020
1,121
685
Flagtown
The most efficient hydrogen fuel cell system is only 1/3 as efficient as battery electric. Read fuel cell engineer Ulf Bossel's paper in the October 2006 Proceedings of the IEEE, "Does a Hydrogen Economy Make Sense?", where he demolishes the idea. The laws of physics make it dumb to use fuel cells except for niche applications, and cars aren't niche. Elon Musk most likely read Bossel's paper, and that prompted him to make the statement years ago that hydrogen fuel cells for cars are dumb. Yes, very dumb, but someone wants to sell you some high-pressure hydrogen because you're not going to be making any at home.

Bossel's paper at the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
Interesting read but apples and oranges as he doesn't address this use case at all. I did find a questionable argument or so in the paper.
 

spokey

Active Member
Aug 8, 2020
1,121
685
Flagtown
If you want a car with high running cost, limited life, poor performance, and extremely compromised internal space utilization fuel cells are fantastic. Also, most of those are not really going to be easily improved upon, they are inherent in the physics of fuel cells. Fuel cells make a lot more sense for larger (non-consumer) vehicles, but for passenger cars they have already lost.
Why a high running cost? Or what do you mean by running cost? Given that I am suggesting a plug in hybrid that would run on battery / home charge 99% of the time, why would running cost be high. And why would performance be high if you essentially down sized a MY/M3 battery to say 150-200 range and added the hydrogen? That's all we're talking about. A hydrogen range extender with the ability to refill quicker when you're on a trip. Plus that would help those apartment/condo/city dwellers who don't have ready access to charging every night.
 
Why a high running cost? Or what do you mean by running cost? Given that I am suggesting a plug in hybrid that would run on battery / home charge 99% of the time, why would running cost be high. And why would performance be high if you essentially down sized a MY/M3 battery to say 150-200 range and added the hydrogen? That's all we're talking about. A hydrogen range extender with the ability to refill quicker when you're on a trip. Plus that would help those apartment/condo/city dwellers who don't have ready access to charging every night.
High running costs whenever you run on hydrogen that is (the fuel is expensive). Also, the car has a finite service life (read the text on the fuel filler lid on the Toyota Mirai, you can't fill it past a certain date because hydrogen breaks down the materials in the hydrogen system) Regarding the battery, it is not as simple as scaling down a Model 3 battery. The reason the Model 3/Y have such good performance (horsepower) is because they have a large battery. Everything else being equal, a larger battery means more power delivery ability. This is one of the main reason why the Tesla's with smaller batteries have lower performance (horsepower). Yes, PHEVs usually use different battery chemistry more optimized for power delivery, but then you sacrifice energy density. Hydrogen = lot's of compromises, only one advantage (fueling time). Regarding apartment/condo/city dwellers, yes this is an issue but ubiquitous Level 1/2 charging infrastructure is far easier to build out then a hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Seriously, look up how many cars a hydrogen station can actually refuel in a day, it is crazy low (~25-70 per day, again because physics). Level 1/2 charging infrastructure can literally be standard wall outlet.
 

spokey

Active Member
Aug 8, 2020
1,121
685
Flagtown
Level 1/2 charging infrastructure can literally be standard wall outlet.
As it would be for the HPEV. Listen I'm happy with my tesla but do think more range and/or faster filling is needed. I'm hoping for future faster filling along with a LOT more charging locations. Enough so that ABetterRpitePlanner becomes a thing of the past because like an ICE, I can drive until the tanks gets low and just look for the next station.
 

Boza

2020 Model S LR+
Sep 24, 2021
761
1,278
Usa
The main reason I switched to MS LR+ was the 402 miles range (~300 real miles, 250 in the mountain in the winter). I do not believe in one EV for the city and one ICE/hybrid for the road trips (are 200m trips really road trips?!). On top of that hybrids are super complex, more complex than the ICE. If you abstract yourself from the fact that we have been using ICE for 100+ years you will see it as something very, very complex that requires quite a bit of maintenance. Since we have such vast support network we do not really recognize that.
Currently, there is a shortage of batteries and that creates a bottleneck for EV manufacturers. The added value of a battery is smaller than the added value of a car so the manufacturers have an incentive to produce more cars albeit with smaller range. There is a lot of focus on that so we will see a lot of changes in the near future - both trough increased energy density and using more availability chemistry.
On the other hand, charging will become faster. 800v packs charge almost half of the time 400v packs do. On top of that, there are some interesting developments in the capacitors space. Coupling a capacitor to the battery allows for very, very quick charge (a capacitor can be charged faster than filling an ICE car) and slower discharge to the battery. One may argue that it is a hybrid but without the added complexity.
H2 is, generally, a problem. It may be the most abundant gas in the universe but not on Earth. In fact, most of H2 is derived from fossil fuels; electrolysis is not very efficient. The idea of using renewable energy to split water and store H2 is appealing, on the surface. Storing H2 is super, super hard - it is very reactive and very small molecule. This thing goes through steel, aluminum and most other “traditional” tanks. The Murai tanks are engineering and chemical marvel - and still have a very limited miles. As opposed to a battery, that is degraded only through cycling, H2 tanks degrade whether you use them or not.
Fuel cells were developed for spacecraft because they use H2 as fuel and O2 as the oxidizer. It makes a lot of sense to make electricity from what you already have. Making H2 for the sole purpose of storing energy on a mass scale is simply too difficult.
 

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