Fiat Mio is an initiative from Fiat Brazil and AgênciaClick to rethink the future of automobiles. Fiat has opened a collaborative platform for people to submit their ideas and design the optimal car for their wants and needs.
It was the first time that a car maker opened up the process of creating a car, which is -traditionally- a great secret for this industry. All the ideas were submitted by the Creative Commons license, meaning that any other car maker could have access to it.
The project broke paradigms in the Brazilian industry, both for automobile and digital advertising industry.
Evolving Digital Environments
Wheels that spin 360 degrees? Ejection seat? 3G chip within the vehicle?
In the beginning, Fiat Mio needed a website where people could submit their ideas about the car of the future. The participation has soon became so big that the small website has turned into a portal: fiatmio.cc.
The portal hosted ideas and discussions around the car of the future. And video episodes, newsletters for the participants, translations to different languages, social network profiles, Facebook Connect, among other functionalities. The website progressively evolved and became a community - of laypeople, design and engineering students, and simply automobile fans.
One remarkable characteristic of such a long and new project (there wasn't benchmark for almost anything, believe me) is that the digital environments were evolving throughout the year.
In that process, creating sketches was fundamental. Small decisions were made based on paper wireframes, in many times skipping the Visual Design phase and going straight to the Dev team. Almost an entire moleskine, full of pages and ideas that were dropped out throughout the process. Mercilessly.
A car full of digital interfaces
When you think about the car of the future, you naturally expect to abandon analog dashboards and to think of interface solutions that are 100% digital.
Fiat has asked AgênciaClick to help them with our expertise in designing digital interfaces - especially since their engineers might have a very addicted point of view of designing analog dashboards. They have spent years doing that.
Once more, it was a collaborative effort between agency and client: AgênciaClick bringing their knowledge in information architecture and usability, and Fiat bringing their expertise in ergonomics and car engineering.
Below you will find some pictures of this stage:
In the end, we had clickable prototypes of almost every interface within the car: the touch screen on the steering wheel, the navigation pad in front or the passenger seat, information that was projected on the windshield and also the mobile app that would control the car from its owner's cellphone.Ok, now we'll create a short film.
The 2010 Automobile Show, in São Paulo, was the perfect occasion to present the recently-created vehicle to car fans. Participants that had contributed with ideas to create Fiat Mio were invited to visit Fiat's stand and finally meet the car that they have helped to create.
Since the car had many technologies that didn't exist nowadays, AgênciaClick has decided to produce a short film to show how the car worked and how it related to people's routines.
While recording the film, actors used the wireframes to know the ares they should touch, where they should look to and what gestures they should do with their hands.
The UX Design role
Website, iPad, Mobile, Videos, Blog, Digital Kioks, Teaser Videos, Mail Marketing, E-mail Marketing, Steering Wheel, Windshield. Keeping the consistency across all these pieces couldn't be done by a single person. It would be humanly impossible.
But just like they say: "Creating great user experiences takes a multidisciplinary team that shares ownership of UX" (http://bit.ly/dTM1Cr).
When I read that, Fiat Mio came to my mind immediately. The UX Design has never been the role of a single professional or a single department. Not in this project.
Instead of trying to centralize the whole project, the UX Designer had an evangelizing mission. At a given point, the UX thought was already widespread across the whole team. Each of the professionals had in mind the experience that needed to be designed and the brand message that needed to be spread in all those environments.
From the motion designer to the front-end developer, everyone was aware of the function and goals of each piece that needed to be produced - and they were also aware that a good user experience was one of the premises for the project.
In the end, this integrated way of thinking UX had generated a much more pleasant process. That's the way it should be, right?
Bonus: backstage pics