Archive for the ‘Automotive’ category

Smart Cars, Distracted Drivers

December 8th, 2014

Determining whether oSmart Cars, Smart Designr not “smart” automobiles are distracting depends largely on who you ask. If you ask consumers, as was done in the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS), 71% of drivers believe that hands-free devices are safer than hand-held ones, and over 50% of those same people don’t believe that speech-based systems are at all distracting. If you ask car manufacturers, they will claim voice systems are completely safe alternatives that allow a driver to navigate, communicate, or enjoy social media without distraction.

A research study done by the AAAFTS seems to suggest something completely different, and you may be surprised at the results. In summary, hands-free is just as bad and, in some cases, worse than using a hand-held device. Just because your eyes are on the road doesn’t mean you’re paying attention. Using multiple modes of assessment, the study evaluated six tasks that are common for modern automobiles:

  • Listening to the radio
  • Listening to a book on tape
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Talking on a hand-held device
  • Talking on a hands-free device
  • Interacting with a speech-to-text email system

» Read more: Smart Cars, Distracted Drivers

Altia CEO’s Top Three Observations from IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014

September 24th, 2014

IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014This week, Altia sponsored the 5th Annual Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The goal for the event was to get all the great automotive OEMs and suppliers together in one spot for deep-dive discussion about the challenges that automotive companies are facing with regard to HMI — and there are quite a few!

Not only is the automotive cockpit a battleground for brand differentiation, but the user experience has to be spot on. Not only do the various user interfaces in the car need to be functional while limiting driver distraction, but now need to interface with mobile devices and — in the not so distant future — with other vehicles!

With a guest list that includes experts from Fiat, Renault, BMW, Garmin and other leading automotive companies, we expected some truly exciting conversation — and we couldn’t wait to get a report from the road. So we asked Mike Juran, Altia’s CEO to share his impressions of the event.

Here goes… » Read more: Altia CEO’s Top Three Observations from IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014

Altia to Speak at Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 in Germany

September 8th, 2014

IQPC Automotive Cockpit HMI2014

Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 is just a few weeks away!

Altia will join BMW, Renault, Garmin and other automotive leaders for discussions about critical topics in HMI design and development — like automated drive, multi-modal HMI, connectivity, driver distraction and usability.

Mike Juran, Altia CEO, will present “The Economics of a Successful Automotive HMI – from Today to 2025.” He will sharehis insights into the state of advanced infotainment, the value of 3D and HUD and the future of automotive HMI design. » Read more: Altia to Speak at Automotive Cockpit HMI2014 in Germany

Skeuomorphism — It’s Stayin’ Alive

May 29th, 2014

Skeuomorphism — the designing of interfaces to mimic real-life counterparts – has become a bit of a dirty word in GUI design these days.

Apple, long a proponent of that style under the usually reliable judgment of Steve Jobs, largely gave up the ghost in 2013 with iOS7. Yet there are still projects and new concepts looking at ways to keep skeuomorphism alive, such as this one or even bringing 3D into the act like this one.

There is this dream that one day, we’ll be starring in our own versions of “Minority Report” or “Iron Man” – swinging our arms or manipulating virtual objects to perform incredibly complex tasks. However, the reality for most users is that attempts at this type of interaction will almost always require too much training.

Tom Cruise and Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t likely step up and start flailing their arms at their newly delivered computer systems expecting it to realize what they were attempting. In fact, what makes those movies and the interaction so cool — is that the users were expert. They were trained and very practiced at the interaction at hand. It’s kind of like watching your engineer friend whip through command line prompts or wrangle huge C files in vi. It’s very cool, incredibly productive — but not something the casual user can mimic.
» Read more: Skeuomorphism — It’s Stayin’ Alive

New Article: Top Ten Automotive UX Successes

May 22nd, 2014

Cisco recently released a survey that indicates that consumers are craving more, better technologies in their cars — and they’re willing to surrender things like height and weight information, DNA samples and fingerprints to get a more comfortable ride or better vehicle security technology.

And while those automotive OEMs run back to their white boards to start brainstorming the next great UX feature, Steve Tengler takes a step back to offer some acknowledgement for the features that are already out in the market that do an outstanding job of making our driving experience easier, safer and more enjoyable.

What innovations made the cut? Read Tengler’s “Top Ten Automotive UX Successes” on to find out.






“Looking Ahead in Auto UX with Mercedes”

May 1st, 2014

Recently, Steve Tengler — Altia’s Senior Director of User Experience — sat down with Paolo Malabuyo (Vice President of Advanced UX Design), Vera Schmidt (Senior Manager of Advanced UX Design), and Viviane Eide (Manager of UX Research) of Mercedes at their R&D Center in Silicon Valley to discuss the company’s vision for automotive UX.

What did they talk about? Everything from how the company leverages connected devices to bring new technologies to their vehicles faster to the company’s view on autonomous driving.

“We like to think about human, core desires and how can we use technology to meet them.” – @MercedesBenz

Read the interview, “Looking Ahead in Automotive UX with Mercedes“, in its entirety on






“Design Matters” Talks Tengler’s UXMag Interview with Tesla

December 6th, 2013

Remember Steve Tengler’s recent interview with Tesla’s UX Director, Brennan Boblett, on The team at Digital Telepathy discussed the article in a recent “Design Matters” episode!

Watch it here:



“The UX Explorers at Ford: An Interview with Parrish Hanna and Chris Thibodeau”

December 5th, 2013

From the latest article on

Looking back, the early 21st century will be considered the age of UX Epiphany. For nearly fifty years, we languished with knobs and buttons where styling was only the consideration of plasticized curves.

The last decade, however, has seen an onslaught of new user interfaces and associated modalities bringing a paradigm shift about a company’s holistic product; sleekness is measured when it is electrically alive as well as mechanically alive. Dr. William Gribbons said it best in his article The Four Waves of User-Centered Design.”

“In the most demanding markets, user experience became part of a product’s brand and was carefully orchestrated across every touch point with the customer.”

In response to this recent explosion in UX, Ford Motor Company has hired folks like Parrish Hanna and Chris Thibodeau—Global Director of Human-Machine Interface and Executive Manager of Global Product Planning for User Interface, Connectivity, and Infotainment respectively—to react and reshape Ford’s user experience.
» Read more: “The UX Explorers at Ford: An Interview with Parrish Hanna and Chris Thibodeau”

Altia’s Role in “The Web of Things”?

April 5th, 2013

Recently, an associate of mine sent me an article from TechRepublic, “The Web of Things: A web-connected world of smart devices,” asking for my thoughts about this phenomenon and ideas about how Altia fits in to this connected world.

Like the author of the article, I agree that the “connected device” trend is growing and here to stay.

When it comes to product User Interfaces, there are 3 approaches that can emerge.

  1. All smart devices are “faceless” and you only interact with them via your smart phone, tablet and PC.
  2. All smart devices have their own displays and you can interact with them directly.
  3. A combination of the above.

I predict it will be #3 — a combination of the above.

Today 50% of all smart devices have a dedicated display — and any urgent device requires a dedicated display. What are the industries where those urgent devices exist? Medical, security, automotive, defense, aerospace, commercial cooking, industrial control — and that’s just at the current state of technology.

And guess what – people are always in a hurry so every situation is urgent…home stereo, home appliances, home HVAC. The next time your security system goes berserk in the middle of the night, do you really want to think about looking for your smart phone then making sure it’s charged, finding your security app, making sure you have an internet connection, and so on?  Or do you just want to run up to the wall panel and turn it off?

What about when you have house guests?  Are you going to leave your phone with them?

At one time, you could have argued that cost was a prohibiting factor. Now? Displays are cheap, so there is little downside to the dedicated display.

In any case, Altia is positioned well to serve the web-connected, smart device world. Altia is the only company that can handle the deeply embedded displays AND smart phones. Altia provides the capability to create a unified look and feel for dedicated displays and their smart phone control counterparts. No need for users to learn two different systems for controlling a single device? That’s a user experience win for your product AND your company.

Whether your smart device will be accessed from a smart phone or an embedded display or both, Altia is the best UI development solution.

“The Cloud is Hazy for Automotive UX”

January 25th, 2013

Should automotive companies jump into the cloud?

Take a look around the hallowed halls of technology today — and you’ll quickly understand that The Cloud is the place to be.

But is this true for those of us who are planning, creating and implementing automotive user experiences?

“Some companies—especially those in the automotive industry—are driving off the cliff because that’s what all of the other lemmings are doing, but they should pause to understand the implications to the consumer and the corporation before going that route.”

The cloud offers a number of distinct advantages – power, capability to update and tailor individual system UX to the user, opportunity to improve quality of the system UX, etc. But a cloud-less system has distinct advantages, too. Cost, security and speed are just a few.

In his new article, “The Cloud is Hazy for Automotive UX“, Steve Tengler brings the advantages and disadvantages of the cloud to light – and offers a beacon for automotive companies to find their way out of the haze.

Read the full article here. Questions or comments? Email us at