Low cost, high impact: "Dog Mode" at Tesla

In a world where innovation is often equated with high costs and complex technologies, Tesla's "Dog Mode" impressively demonstrates that effective innovation doesn't have to be expensive.

Article by


Jakob Kaya

4 min read06 Sept 2023

This feature is a prime example of how user research and ideation can have a huge impact on product development.

The problem: dogs in hot cars

Every dog owner knows the dilemma: You want to do a quick shopping, but your dog can't go with you to the store. Leaving the car in the sun, however, is life-threatening for the animal. Many countries even allow the smashing of car windows to save dogs in such situations. Tesla has probably recognized this problem through user research and analyzed it in an ideation session.

The solution: Dog Mode

At first glance, the solution seems simple: leave the air conditioning running while you're away. But that's not enough. Tesla's "Dog Mode" goes one step further. It uses the car's large screen to send a clear message to passersby. A 3D animation of a dog and the car's current interior temperature are displayed to signal that the dog is safe and well.

The cost of the innovation

What did this innovation cost? Surprisingly, very little. No additional hardware components or complex algorithms were needed. The entire solution was based on existing infrastructure and a clever idea. The key to success was a user-centric approach enabled by user research and ideation.

The Impact: A lot of attention and a big plus

"Dog Mode" may seem like a small feature, but its impact is immense. How many Tesla customers have considered this feature a big plus in their purchase decision? It's hard to say, but the fact that this feature has attracted so much attention speaks for itself.

Tesla's "Dog Mode" is an excellent example of how a simple but well thought-out innovation can have a big impact. In general, one can say about Tesla that the company is very open to innovation. This is also demonstrated by the Tesla App Store for third-party apps.

It doesn't always take huge budgets and complex technologies to create effective solutions. What really counts is a user-centric approach and the ability to identify real problems and find creative solutions. It's time that traditional automakers also learn this lesson and start working in a more user-centric way. Because at the end of the day, it will pay off.

Involved Minds:
Carina Felsberger
Senior UX WriterInvolved as:Editor