2020, SBD Automotive carried out its infotainment expert usability evaluation of
the Land Rover Defender cockpit in the UK. Launched earlier this year, the Defender
fills the gap left by the previous utilitarian model, but is a very different
proposition far more in line with the rest of Land Rover’s luxury offering.
It’s also the first JLR vehicle to be fitted with new Pivi Pro infotainment
The system features
a central 10-inch landscape display and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. The
central display is mounted at the front of a concave cubby that runs right across
from the passenger side to the cluster. While visually pleasing, it is somewhat
low in everyday driving, slightly increasing time with eyes-off-the-road. Beneath
the display is a rotary/button panel with controls for HVAC and driving
impressions are extremely good. Minute attention has been paid to the graphical
interface, resulting in a system with an ultra-premium visual appearance, a
contemporary look and feel, multiple micro-interactions, and great use of
colour (including slate and copper), imagery, virtual materials such as brushed
metal, and attractive stylised iconography. A tessellated triangle motif is
used throughout which brings together the foreground and background elements.
information architecture has been simplified: gone are the top status bar and app-laden
menu bar running the full width of the screen, instead replaced with a small
vertical bar either side. Only three main apps are available from the home
screen: navigation, phone and media including radio. An apps screen is
accessible from a small link in the corner which offers access to all apps.
Even here, the attention to detail can be seen, with the main three apps
de-prioritised due to their ease of access elsewhere. This overall approach
finds the perfect balance between a system that appears feature-rich and one
that is over-simplified.
benefit of the removal of the upper and lower bars is that the full height of
the screen is permanently available. The side bars are translucent, with
content visible behind giving the overall impression of a larger screen than
10-inches. Additionally, scrolling and search input have been optimised to
overcome the previous system’s problems of little or no visible content while
completing an action.
implementation is extremely effective, with a fast and well-optimised POI/destination
search that prioritises results intelligently and demonstrates good error
correction. Maps are attractive and traffic and road information was all up to
date when tested, even for very temporary road closures. Unusually, due to the
fact that Android Auto/CarPlay are not able to run full-screen, the native
mapping solution is far preferable to smartphone mirroring options, frequently
found to be much better than native navigation in other systems.
However, not every
element of the system sees an improvement. The HVAC implementation is
similar to that in the Velar, but as it lacks the touchscreen much of the
dynamism is lost, leaving it confusing and fiddly to operate with multiple
functions allocated to the rotaries and some control spilling onto the central
recognition is not good: it’s the one element that appears to have made it
across from Touch Pro pretty much unchanged. The system relies on set phrases, has
no barge-in, wake word or ability to handle compound or contextual queries, and
also appears to lack connectivity. Recognition is poor, and it functions
ineffectively to give frequent unintended results or complete failures to
complete the task. This is likely to fall well below user expectations and see
very little use.
operation of the instrument cluster is mostly well executed with successful distribution
of information and a large degree of customisation including full-screen map
view. Interaction, however, is hindered by a poorly conceived menu structure
which has multiple levels to navigate and a confusing combination of left and
up clicks to climb back to the top before it can be closed.
system feels modern, fast, pleasing to use and consistent with a premium
vehicle, giving far more of a smartphone-like experience than any other system
tested this year. With fixes to the niggles, all relatively minor, the system
would be likely to meet the expectations of the majority of JLR customers.
Automotive's UX evaluations:
The Defender UX report is the sixth in a series of 12 infotainment expert user experience
evaluations SBD Automotive is carrying out this year. These reports have been
produced for several years and provide an expert evaluation of the leading
navigation and infotainment systems in the European, US, Chinese and Japanese
markets. The series has four main objectives, aimed at supporting clients at
various stages of the development cycle: Benchmark and score, Define areas of
concern, Outline best practice and Provide tangible recommendations. For these
studies, SBD Automotive evaluates the three core components of user experience:
functionality, ergonomics and usability, to ensure a fair score can be provided
across each system evaluated.
rely on a robust methodology that has been developed over the lifetime of the
series. It captures over 1,000 data points across 12 different disciplines
including static and dynamic testing, system performance, a feature checklist
and SUS scoring (see charts) to build a data set that can be consistently
benchmarked against all competitor cars, including an overall final percentage
system UX score.