What’s Driving the Mini Cooper? Not the User Experience


The stylish and iconic brand has experienced a revival in recent years that has brought two entrants to the US market, the Mini Cooper and the Mini Clubman. Thoughtful engineering and design have made Minis ‘zippy’ and fun to drive, roomier than expected and, let’s face it, cool. Unfortunately, this same thoughtfulness does not carry over to the user interface (UI) of the car dashboard.

User Centric, Inc., a Chicago-based user experience research firm, evaluated the usability of the Mini Clubman dashboard. Based on extensive experience with in-vehicle systems and UI best practices, the team found the dashboard suffers from awkward relationships between buttons and the display, inefficient layout of controls, poor error recovery and some labeling issues.

Naseem Hasan, User Experience Specialist and Mini Clubman owner noted, “Drivers are going to have continual trouble in two ways. First, simply picking the button is hard because of the alignment. Second, since the mapping of the buttons is always changing, I constantly have to divert my attention from driving to the entertainment system; this creates a potential safety hazard.”

In short, while Minis may be fun to drive, the dashboard UI diminishes the overall user experience. For the full evaluation, visit .

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