Overall, I think the design has little quirks to it that I’d assume are to be intentionally different. If I had to guess, I’d say this is the brand’s valiant attempt at trying to influence a new industry-wide shift to a few typical design patterns. I know MINI collaborated thoroughly with Icon Icar. Icon Incar is a highly specialized design consultancy for automotive user interface, user experience, connectivity, and mobility ecosystems to create some kickass UX, and the car’s unique personality definitely shines through that research.
3. User Control and Freedom
Users often perform actions by mistake. They need a clearly marked “emergency exit” to leave the unwanted action without having to go through an extended process.
So, this is an excellent time for me to mention that the Mini is a 7-speed auto-manual…and BOY do I love it. First off, I live in Los Angeles, where driving a manual transmission can be an absolute panic attack. So that’s out for me (just my personal preference), but a true automatic is too boring for me. I need mental stimulation with bumper lanes, and that’s essentially what Pebble’s drivetrain provides. She’s got paddle shifters so you can play racecar driver in manual and sport modes, upshift and downshift to your liking (or however you want to play the power band) but with the added protection of the computer coming in as backup so you don’t overrev. What can I say? The thing shifts like butter and rev matches with or without your help. She’s got it, but if you want to take over for a bit, she’s more than happy to let you play it up.
4. Consistency and Standards
Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. Follow platform and industry conventions.
I have a lot of great things to say about the instrument panel. It’s high contrast, it’s flat and light deflective, very clear and concise information…except for these damn pop-up icons that come up at all random times and disappear just as fast. These icons appear in correlation to the 3 driving modes: green, mid, and sport. Each of the 3 modes has its own subsequent set of alerts. Let’s take green, for example. Every so often, I’ll see these icons and circles pop up that I can only imagine indicating something to do with either saving gas or wasting it. Without any English subtitles underneath said iconography and the icons themselves being pretty vague illustrations, it’s really anyone’s guess as to what they’re trying to say…unless you read the manual. But that’s the point. I don’t want to have to go pick up the manual to go and decipher what my car is trying to tell me. It should be so effortless that I instantly understand what it’s telling me, and therefore what it wants me to do in order to solve the problem. I want to work with her, but I, unfortunately, don’t always know how. We’re currently working on how to better communicate.