Friday, March 30, 2007

Warning over car indicator lights

Safety vs. aesthetics in turn signal design ...

"Modern car indicators could be compromising drivers' safety, a study by the University of Wales, Bangor, has claimed.

Many new designs position indicators within car headlamps - rather than a separate flashing light to the side.

But Bangor researcher Dr Andrew Bayliss said tests showed people took longer to react to the new-style lights.

A spokesman for the UK's Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) described the findings as "very interesting".

Dr Bayliss decided to carry out the research after noticing the new indicator lights as he travelled around Bangor.

When looking at the new-style lights, he said it took a few seconds longer for peoples' brains to "interpret" what they saw.

Several modern car makers position the indicators on the inside edge of the headlights and this study shows that this design feature could reduce their safety," he added.

Two groups, with 15 young adults in each, took part in the study at the university's School of Psychology.

They were shown pictures of the fronts of cars and asked to press a left or right hand button as quickly as they could when corresponding indicators flashed.

Dr Bayliss said students responded "significantly faster" to cars where the indicator lights were outside the headlight."    (Continued via BBC NEWS)    [Usability Resources]

Turn Signal Design - Usability, User Interface Design

Turn Signal Design


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Took me half the article to realize they were talking about the blinkers. Guess they don't use that term in the UK.

I agree with the article. Aesthetics cannot interfere with usability, especially in the safety context.

5:14 PM  

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