If you haven’t heard of Tesla then you’ve probably been living under a rock and if you’re a Tesla fan, then you’ve likely heard of Andrew Goodlad. You see, Andrew was recently catapulted into the public (or at least the design world’s) eye when he mocked up the car maker’s Model 3 user interface before it was released, with only streamed videos from its reveal to work with.
His interactive prototype was so popular that it ended up on the pages of some of the world’s most popular tech and design sites, and earned him a congratulations from Tesla themselves. Andrew also happens to be one of the UX/UI (user experience/user interface) designers at ResDiary, who works to make sure that our table reservations are as beautiful and user-friendly as possible.
We decided to drag him away from his desk and have a chat about his love of cars, designing, and how an unassuming guy from the north of Scotland deals with unexpected media attention.
So, Andrew, the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind for you. How did you end up getting into UX/UI design?
When I was at school, art and graphical design were my two favourite classes. A lecturer at Aberdeen Gallowgate College suggested his course (a mixture of graphic design, product design, and web design) and I started studying that. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by cars and over the years I was drawn in by their aesthetics. I started learning more and more about designers like Batista Pininfarina (a designer who worked with Fiat, Cadillac, Rolls Royce, and more) and Ian Callum. (The current Director for Design at Jaguar.) I always wanted to design cars and the plan was to go on and do an automotive design course when I was finished at Aberdeen Gallowgate college. However, I was introduced to user interfaces and user experiences and my career took a different path.
So with all that love for cars and design, Tesla must be a big deal for you?
Absolutely. In March 2016 I reserved the Tesla Model 3, which is Tesla’s first, long-range electric vehicle. Incredibly, they had 400,000 reservations in the first few weeks after they revealed it: people really want electric cars. I stayed up to see the handover event (where the first 30 people were given their cars) and I was so excited to see what it would be like.
What made you want to mock up these designs?
At the handover event, Tesla stayed pretty tight-lipped about their features. The other 400,000 reservation holders and I were still left wondering what we were getting as they only told us about the price, range, and how safe the car was.
I watched a few videos on Youtube from Tesla’s invited guests and thought it would be great if I could take the blurry videos and images of the screen and recreate it. Tesla’s 15 inch screen is unique and I knew that myself and the other reservation-holders were dying to see how the user interface would look.
Once I got the first few images finished, I realised it would be better if I could make it interactive so people would get a much better idea of how it all came together.
And then you tweeted it out. Were you surprised at the recognition it received?
I knew a lot of Model 3 reservation holders would be interested in seeing it but I was very surprised by the other reactions. Lots of tech media like Electrek, Tech Crunch, and Mashable were quick to share the interactive mock-up. Lots of user experience and user interface designers and even people without reservations wanted a chance to play around with Tesla’s new model. The highlight was an email from Tesla themselves though.
Oh check you! Don’t be leaving us and heading to California! Are you working on anything else in your spare time at the moment?
I do a lot of designing in my spare time. I believe it’s an important part of learning new skills to always have other small projects going on and continually practise your craft. At the moment, I’ve been really busy answering questions about the Tesla UI and chatting with other designers but hopefully I’ll get back to my other stuff soon. I’m trying to learn React Native to build an app to use my car’s API to charge and heat it remotely, rather than using the manufacturer’s app.
Does your love of cars and mechanics come in handy in your working life? What are you currently working on at ResDiary?
Not directly but design principles are universal and apply across all types of products. I’m always exploring user interfaces and creating my own which comes into my working day too.
At the moment I’ve been working with the design team on user interface improvements to the diary in our main application and bringing a grid view to our iPad app. ResDiary’s most recognisable feature is probably our grid view and we’re really excited to bring it to our iPad app.
We’re also working towards a design system to bring consistency to the software and create a harmonious experience for users which is a big project and great to be a part of. It will allow us to spend more time solving problems and providing our users with better tools to better run their restaurant, rather than deciding which drop-down or colour to use.
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