Friday, December 14, 2007

Dashboard Usability II: Why You Don't Drive With the Lights Off

Auto dashboards that think for you ...

I like it if a product does not enable you to do something stupid with it. Or if it at least discourages it. Let me take a really simple example. If I start my car to go driving at night, and I forget to turn the headlamps on, my dashboard stays dark. This is logical, as you only need dashboard illumination if it's dark, and most people only turn the lights on when it's dark. But to me, a dark dashboard is also a warning that my outside lights are not on yet. I could of course know that by simply looking out the front window, or looking at the switch, but to me the dashboard illumination is this nice extra but unobtrusive warning.

On the other hand, this whole situation does not apply if you drive with your headlights on during daytime, as quite a few people do here in the Netherlands (it makes your car more visible). But then, if driving with the lights on is obligated, as it is in Sweden, most cars will automatically switch the lights on as you start the car. So for those people my whole argument above is basically a mute point."    (Continued via the product usability weblog)    [Usability Resources]

Dashboard - Usability, User Interface Design



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