Sunday, November 05, 2006

A dim view of the driving experience

An example of poor UI for automobile ...

"Yesterday, I was driving to a client to perform usability testing on their website. However, the usability issue I want to highlight doesn’t relate to the web, but rather the car I was in.

I was driving my wife’s new Toyota Corolla. It’s a pretty good drive and overall, there’s no real cause for complaint. Until now.

As is typical for Ireland at this time of year, the sun was low and bright so for safety reasons, I turned on my headlights so as to be more visible to other cars on the road.= How very sensible of me!

However, one side effect of this action was that the dashboard dimmed.

Why?

Obviously, the designers thought that when the lights are switched on, which is at night, the back lit dash should dim to reduce the glare for the driver so they can focus on the road better.

However, I was driving with my sunglasses on, so to me the dash was almost completely invisible. With no satisfactory feedback as to what speed I was going at, I could have been pulled over or worse, been involved in an accident (perhaps I’m being a bit melodramatic here, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility)."    (Continued via Making Life Easy)    [Usability Resources]

Dimmed Dashboard - Usability, User Interface Design

Dimmed Dashboard

1 Comments:

Anonymous Long said...

Just about all cars do this I believe, but they also allow for manual adjustment of dashboard brightness. The way its implemented is actually pretty nice. The alternative is a light sensitive diode on the instrument panel. But imagine driving through a road of street lights, the dash would be distracting as it alternates dimming and brightening. More complicated software could detect changes better, but then you're adding more complicated software to something that needn't be.

9:36 AM  

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