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.
Connected conversations start here.
Color theory is used for web pages, painting, photography; virtually anything that makes use of color to help communicate something to a viewer. Generally speaking, color theory is looked upon as a field of scientific study which breaks down into three basic categories:
- The Color Wheel
- Color Harmony
- Color Context
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.
Good design does not happen by accident. It is imagined, researched, planned, and then implemented. It is reimagined and rebuilt through numerous iterations until it eventually evolves into a form perfectly suited for its purpose. Good design is as important as that initial spark of imagination in turning an idea into reality.
Here are eight quotes from incredible people who know a thing or two about good design…
“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” – Paul Rand
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” – Steve Jobs
- Necessity: The need for a new product or service which does not currently exist
- Laziness: An easier way than the current method of doing something
- Innovation: A better or more efficient product, service, or method of doing something
All three motivations require creativity, but each one involves a certain way of thinking in order to be realized. Necessity revolves mainly around survival. The invention of tools and weapons were driven by necessity. Laziness is more about working smarter, not harder. Transporting a load of goods on your back or on the back of an animal gets something from point A to point B, but using a wheeled cart makes that task immensely easier and increases the size of the possible load as well. (more…)
In this age of smart phones, social networks, online ever-presence, and digital everything, marketing companies bombard us with technology products that we need to incorporate into our lives. Rich feature sets, practical use, gimmicks and the need to have the latest and greatest will sell many of these products. But by and large, to have staying power, a product needs the right kind of user interface. It needs to be convenient, feel natural and be of a design that works well for the product. The design of user interfaces is an art and science of its own and here are some amazing ones that are stretching the boundaries of thought and possibility.
Aqua is the graphical user interface of Apple’s Mac OS X and was first introduced to the public in 2000. It has evolved and undergone many changes in the years since, but it is still the primary visual theme on the platform. The GUI is built around a water theme, as its name would suggest, incorporating effects of reflection and translucency along with visually appealing elements reminiscent of water droplets. It has clean, simple screens with softly rounded corners for a more relaxed appearance than some other interfaces. Two of its more noteworthy features include the animation of many of the elements and a dock for launching and navigating between applications. (more…)
The world of UX/UI is constantly evolving. Discover developments from the innovative to the idiosyncratic in our monthly brief.
New car dash LCD displays break the mold
Sharp has designers thinking outside the box with their newly developed process for creating LCD displays. No longer limited to rectangular screens, these displays will require only one flat side, opening doorways to enhanced designs and more plentiful screen space.
For a closer look, check out Jason Torchinsky’s recent article for Jalopnik, Car Dash Designers Are Finally Free from the Prison of Rectangular LCDs
Smart lawn sprinklers save money and water
Now you can grow your grass and shrink your water bill at the same time. The Skydrop sprinkler controller helps users to “water smarter” by monitoring soil conditions and local weather via wifi and establishing optimum watering schedules based on collected data.
To learn more about Skydrop, visit the site at skydrop.com.
We’ve all done it at some point. Someone you know – a friend, relative, co-worker, whoever – buys the latest and greatest something or other and you absolutely have to have it as well. That something might be a car, a laptop, a phone or one of dozens of other possibilities. How much it costs and whether or not it’s really needed are practical issues that are often ignored in favor of the perceived need to have that latest and greatest whatever. Will that same kind of mindset apply to wearable tech? Will smart watches and smart glasses cement a place within mainstream society — or will they remain primarily within their niche markets?
Very few people remember a ring that could be worn which provided one’s pulse at the touch of a button, and you certainly don’t see anyone wearing one these days. Bluetooth headsets were, at one point, almost ubiquitous. Although they are still in use, they’re becoming increasingly rare. Why is that? The answer is more complicated than it at first appears and depends on several factors.
Factors to Consider
Marketing is the first factor. Technology evolves almost faster than marketing companies can keep up with it. Marketing is what places current tech in front of consumers. Today and tomorrow’s tech is what gets the marketing investment, not yesterday’s cool stuff. If a tech product hasn’t made a place for itself by the time its marketing campaign runs dry, it will likely fall by the wayside and be forgotten or replaced. (more…)
Not too long ago, the touchscreen GUI was almost exclusively found in the realm of smartphones and tablets. Today, they are becoming increasingly common – and can be found in a vast number of cutting-edge applications.
Many people buy beauty products at the store, get them home, and realize too late that they’ve purchased a shade that really doesn’t complement their skin tone. The introduction of interactive makeover counters using touchscreen GUIs eliminates this issue. Customers simply use the interface to capture images of their faces or hands and upload them.
Shoppers can then try out all the products on the store’s “virtual shelf” by using the touchscreen to search by product type and simply drag selected items onto uploaded images.
Touchscreen with Integrated Fingerprint Sensor
While the presence of a fingerprint sensor isn’t an entirely new concept, the model unveiled at the annual CeBIT trade fair in Hanover certainly is. This touchscreen GUI is capable not only of scanning and recognizing a user’s fingerprints in a fraction of a second, it can also read, recognize, scan, and sort the fingerprints of multiple users simultaneously. (more…)
Gestural UI refers to using specific gestures, like scrolling, pinching, and tapping to operate an interface. It also refers to gesture recognition, including tipping, tilting, eye motion, and shaking. Gestural user interface and gesture recognition technology has evolved from very basic motions and applications to the complex, and it is now part of everyday life for a huge number of people. As this technology continues to evolve, the future possibilities are also incredibly exciting.
Smartphones and Tablets
Currently, smartphones and tablets are the most common place everyday consumers can find gestural UI. From Apple iPhones to the Samsung Galaxy, the vast majority of contemporary phones incorporate some elements of gesture UI, from swiping and scrolling, which is common to most phones and tablets, to orientation recognition.