User Experience Benchmark: Volvo XC90

by Chris Schreiner, Diane O’Neill | Aug 18, 2015

User Experience Benchmark: Volvo XC90


Usability Issues Will Impact First-time Users


Boston, MA – August 18, 2015 – A recent expert review from the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics ( has evaluated the 2016 Volvo XC90 infotainment system. Overall, the system had many positive aspects but was held back by usability issues that will impact first-time users.

The Volvo XC90 was the first to announce a Tesla-style tablet interface (Exhibit 1), adding its own unique spin with a vertical tab structure. This structure provided easy access to the main navigation, media, and phone features; the touchscreen was found to be responsive and smooth and phone features easy to use. The duplication of navigation information in the instrument cluster, along with turn-by-turn navigation available on the navigation header even when closed, allowed users easy access to other features without sacrificing important routing information.

Click here for report:

Exhibit 1: 2016 Volvo XC90 Infotainment System


Chris Schreiner, Director, In-vehicle UX and report author commented, “While the touchscreen worked well, alternate HMIs are still necessary for complex tasks such as scrolling long lists of contacts or media. Unfortunately, this is where the Volvo XC90 falls short; speech recognition for calling a contact left a lot to be desired and radio tuning required a specific grammar that was not initially intuitive.”

Continued Schreiner, “However, the main stumbling block for new users will be learning the swiping motion to access additional media sources and advanced vehicle functions. The system should provide a clearer indication that swiping is available by enlarging the circular icons at the top which indicate which menu-page the user is on. Easier access to the vehicle settings (by swiping down from the top) would also be beneficial as this is where the interactive owner’s manual with quick start tips is located. Given its current location, it is unlikely that those who need it most will find it.”

Kevin Nolan, VP UX Innovation Practice, added, “Overall the Volvo XC90 shows promise with its tablet design. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay and ultimately Android Auto, if implemented properly, would bring additional functionality and better integration of streaming media for smartphone owners. In addition to addressing the usability issues we have highlighted, Volvo could have the makings of an excellent infotainment system”


About Strategy Analytics

Strategy Analytics, Inc. provides the competitive edge with advisory services, consulting and actionable market intelligence for emerging technology, mobile and wireless, digital consumer and automotive electronics companies. With offices in North America, Europe and Asia, Strategy Analytics delivers insights for enterprise success. 


About In-vehicle UX

The In-vehicle UX group forms part of the User Experience Innovation Practice (UXIP) at Strategy Analytics. Focusing on user behaviors, motivations and interests within in-vehicle, mobile device, connected home and media & services research areas, UXIP helps clients meet consumer needs, develop usable solutions and deliver compelling user experiences. Extensive expertise and highly experienced in large-scale survey work, in-depth interviews, focus groups and observational sessions, UXIP’s research methodology allows strategic user-centric analysis on the potential for new technologies that would otherwise be unavailable. Providing actionable insight, go-to-market strategies and business recommendations, UXIP is a leading supplier of consumer knowledge to the technology industry. Click here for more information.


Press Contacts


US Contact: Chris Schreiner, +1 617 614 0713,

European Contact: Diane O’Neill, +44 (0)1908 423 669,
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