Americans drive. A lot. Other countries do their fair share of driving, but the automobile is an icon of American culture right along with the cowboy. There are a billion autos on the planet and a substantial majority of them are within the United States. With that many potential consumers in search of a product which never goes out of demand, you would think more emphasis would be placed on the HMI of the vehicle. Such is not the case. By and large, automotive GUIs are sub-par on their best days and confusing or just plain bad on other days.
Determining whether or 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.
This 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.
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 — 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
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 UXMag.com to find out.
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.
Read the interview, “Looking Ahead in Automotive UX with Mercedes“, in its entirety on UXMag.com.