JMCQUARRIE.co.uk

James McQuarrie is a London (UK) based User Experience Consultant who designs and helps build digital products & services that delight their users.

A New Car UI: How touch screen controls in cars should work

This is a really interesting concept. I like that someone is thinking about how to improve what can be very hard to use in-car controls.

I like the idea of a more loose design, where the controls can appear and fit to wherever you place your fingers on the screen. There are some very nice touches with the resolution of the controls too; small increments for volume up / down and bigger, easier to hit increments for music sources, etc.

But, there are three issues that this design hasn’t been able to overcome:

  1. firstly there’s no affordance in the design. While the concept allows for up to eight different finger combinations to trigger eight different controls, there’s no indication in the design of what these eight combinations may be. How a driver would discover what the options are and then remember them all is not clear.
  2. secondly the interface is limited to the number of features it can offer by the number of finger combinations you can create with one hand. This may not be a problem if car manufacturers could limit themselves to only using this interface for eight or less controls, but I’d imagine there would be more they’d like to use it for.
  3. finally, assuming that all eight combinations of finger gestures were used for this interface, anyone who is missing one or more fingers would be unable to access all of the controls.

I think this idea is really interesting though, and addresses a real problem with many current design solutions. I’d be interested to see if the limitations I’ve listed could be overcome.