Category: Automotive

Altia’s Role in “The Web of Things”?

April 5th, 2013 by Mike Juran

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 by Cheryl Falk

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


Auto HMI Development “Demystified” in New SAE Article

December 4th, 2012 by Cheryl Falk

The many nuances of creating excellent automotive HMI and infotainment systems require careful up-front planning.

Why? It’s just designing a few screens in a vehicle, right?

Not even close. When done correctly, automotive HMI development must consider and then connect a complex network of operating systems, middleware, modalities and more. Developers need to accommodate a wide range of user personas with varying goals. What devices are the users bringing into the vehicle? What apps are they running? Can my OS handle it?

Furthermore, the design team needs to build an HMI that will not only assure user safety, but also user DELIGHT. In the age of social media, it’s astonishing what a few complaints about your product on the Twitterverse or in the hallowed halls of Facebook will do to your product’s reputation.

Fear not! In a new article on SAE Vehicle Engineering Online, a couple of HMI development experts have laid out a plan for automotive HMI development success.

Questions or comments about the article? We want to hear them! Email us at




“UX Lesson from Hollywood” Coming to Detroit!

November 26th, 2012 by Cheryl Falk

Perhaps you have already enjoyed Steve Tengler’s articles about User Experience lessons as told by Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks. Can’t wait for more?

Never fear! There are ten more UX lessons from Hollywood coming soon!

You can look forward to reading these lessons on – or, if you’re in the Detroit area, you can hear them delivered by Steve Tengler himself at Refresh Detroit – a joint event with the Michigan Usability Professionals’ Association.

Event details are as follows.

  • Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013
  • Time: 6:30 PM
  • Location: The Qube (635 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI)
  • Click here to register.

From the event website…

As previously said best by Steve Jobs, “The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.” And the better the design, the more your company will thrive. But how can we clarify to our non-User Experience coworkers some basics of User Experience? The easiest and obvious point of reference is pop culture; something to which we all can relate.

Steve Tengler, Director of User Experience at Altia Inc, will provide a fistful of UX lessons with a Hollywood foundation for the collective digestion of your coworkers. Practitioners and novices alike will enjoy this fun-filled-yet-educational evening of cinematic analogies.

We hope to see you there!


Automotive Spins the Roulette Wheel…on UX?

October 29th, 2012 by Cheryl Falk

Steve Tengler shifts his focus from Hollywood (remember Cruise and Depp?) to the automotive industry in his most recent article on

In “Automotive at the UX Roulette Wheel“, Steve draws an interesting and disturbing comparision between a couple of freewheeling gamblers he encountered at a recent trip to Vegas — freewheelers who lost big money — and two automotive companies from his past who lost even bigger money when they took a gamble on the User Experience of their product.

Comparing gamblers to auto execs? How does that work?

Company A put all of their UX money on Design Artists (or, in this case, “red”). Company B put their entire UX budget on “black” – or in the hands of the Usability Practitioners. In each case, both players walked away — with product failures and several million dollars down the drain.

So why is this gambling? Isn’t this just product development? What went wrong?

Read the article to get Steve Tengler’s answers to these questions along with his recommendation for how to play the UX game to win.


Announcing the 2012 GUI Design Contest Winner

June 29th, 2012 by Jesse Marble

altia gui design contestThe 2012 GUI Design Contest has concluded. Great job to all the participants! Designs have been been submitted and reviewed by our esteemed panel of industry judges. We’re proud to announce this year’s winner:

Parvizsho A. from Purdue University – Calumet

His innovative design has earned him an internship with Altia, as well as a $2000 scholarship for the coming semester. Congratulations, Parvizsho!


Freescale and Altia Co-Present at FTF Americas 2012

June 19th, 2012 by Cheryl Falk

Freescale Technology Forum Americas 2012 is happening this week at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. Altia is on the scene!

It was standing room only this afternoon at the FTF hands-on workshop, “Creating Awesome Graphics Applications Using Altia Design and the Qorivva MPC5645S”, which was co-presented by Freescale’s Hugo Osornio and Altia’s Senior HMI Developer, Brian Stewart.

Creating Awesome Graphics Applications Using Altia Design and the Qorivva MPC5645S

In the span of this two hour session, attendees learned how to create a cool HMI with Altia Design, generate code with Altia’s DeepScreen code generator and deploy their HMI onto the Freescale Qorivva MPC5645S.

Altia will also be on hand all week at the Technology Lab Booth 100 at Freescale’s Vybrid Automotive Solutions booth. If you’re at FTF, make sure to stop by the booth – or email to set up an appointment with us.





#DESIGNwest and the Chevy volt

March 30th, 2012 by Jason Williamson

The new Chevy Volt made an appearance at the 2012 DESIGNwest conference in San Jose. It actually snuck up on me, it’s so quiet.

A couple other relevant articles include teardowns of the Chevy Volt at DESIGNwest 2012.

2012 HMI Report is now available from Telematics Update

March 14th, 2012 by Cheryl Falk

Telematics Update, the reference point for telematics, mobile and web industries and a cornerstone for communications within the automotive industry, has just released their 2012 Human Machine Interface Report: “Develop a Winning HMI Strategy for the Connected Car to Enhance User Experience and Create Product Differentiation”.

Altia’s User Experience Director, Steve Tengler, sat down with Andrew Tolve, Deputy Editor at Telematics Update, to talk about the difficulties that telematics suppliers and OEMs face when differentiating their brand in the HMI market. Click the link to hear what Steve has to say about balancing software development cycles with design to build a unique and successful HMI business model.

The HMI Report will address this topic and others related to HMI, including:

  • HMI Market Forecasts to 2016
  • Leading OEMs Do’s & Don’ts
  • Mitigating Driver Distraction
  • Regulatory Trends
  • HMI and Connected Car Technology Roadmap

Dave McNamara, former Advanced Infotainment Systems Manager at Ford and report author (with more than 30 years of experience in this field) collected data from an impressive collection of automotive OEMs and suppliers, including Ford, Honda, Volvo, Toyota, Panasonic, Delphi, OnStar, Altia and more to compile the latest information on HMI design, implementation, driver distraction, legislation and market trends. The report will also include detailed case studies from Apple, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Garmin and others.

For more information, visit the 2012 HMI Report Page from Telematics Update.

Webinar – Usability: Design for the Novice or the Expert?

March 6th, 2012 by Jesse Marble








Usability: Design for the Novice or the Expert?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
1:00-1:30 EST



Building user interfaces that appropriately fit the needs of different audiences can be difficult. How do you present all the available functionality and depth and keep the design simple and intuitive at the same time? User experience professionals typically boil it down to one simple question — should I design for the Novice or the Expert?

Steve Tengler, Altia’s User Experience Director, will use research, best practices, and his 20+ years in the usability field to dig into this exact question during our upcoming 30 minute webinar. Register now to learn and share in a discussion about:

  • The uncentered design of today
  • Designing for the Novice
  • Key considerations about “for whom do you design?”
  • Building effective use cases

Whether you are a Novice or Expert to user interface development, we invite you to join us for this important event!