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I don't think that's quite the case here: as you said, you work in the industry yourself - do you see any solution that's not "iPad in Car"? I haven't come across one. And I think this at least has a potential NOT to be visually pleasing - as far as I understand it's not meant to be looked at. You just move your fingers across the surface without having to avert your eyes from the road.
That being said: the real problems with interfaces in cars is not how to operate them, but the cognitive distraction they cause, right? So it's not really a question of HOW complex the interface is, but that there even is one. So I'm very uncertain about these things, even voice interfaces, because a phone conversation could easily distract you the same amount as looking away from the road for a moment.
Yes, I see various solutions in the industry. The issue is that interaction and HCI people are not designing the interfaces. It is graphic designers whom have learned to adopt UI/UX digitally. How ever the really interactions in automotive currently come down to tactile "touch and feel" as well as the auditory "the clicks a nob makes in an audi for instance" The solution is not merely taking an iPad display and shoving it into a dashboard of a car. Large visual displays are infact distract, from 5inch to 10inch displays. And that is far more distracting than a hands free or HUD. I think and Highway Patrol would argue that fact, see recent articles on Google Glass and driving etc...
Interestingly enough, the real problem is in fact how to operate digital interfaces in a vehicle. Especially ones like this that require persistent hand placement and interaction. Why did they put controls on the steering wheel? To reduce user reach.. as I mentioned the visual execution is wonderful. And I would be happy to stare at said ui in a "heads down" mentality or a table application. Contrary to your earlier statement the real problem in interfaces IS how to operate them, how to make them intuitive, and not introducing alien paradigms to the user that do not distract, and especially become complicated to use. BMW's iDrive is a perfect example of this. It makes sense, a consoled UI is ideal for navigation. The problem is the hierarchy of "nesting" information and having a linear way of navigating the user vs fluid and intuitive movement. I appreciate the push back, and as always the debate. But this goes to show that a sycophantic design community is not one that is conducive to creativity and innovation. It perpetuates meaningless visual design and encourages the dribbbalisation of things vs actually problem solving, and creating innovative solutions.
I hope you didn't misinterpret my earlier statements: I'm in no way defending the solution Matthaeus offered, I'm merely stating it's an interesting "concept" (not a finished interface), considering that my experiences with these car interfaces (which are little and I'm aware of that ;) ) are that there is no real intelligent evolution to any kind of digital touch interface.
And I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that most 'designers' you see on here have said problem with "meaningless visual design", but I'm not too concerned about that ;)
Concerning the car interfaces only a quick remark: I still think that there should be a different kind of UI for driving and for parking. The Tesla interface can be a great thing when you're in your car and not moving (having a browser and whatnot), but when you're the one driving, there should only be a limited amount of options you can actually perform. I think this is a very important thing: reduction. Knowing what to remove, knowing what to leave. Once we establish this we can move on how to implement an interface that's not only usable, but also secure.
I hope I made myself clear and you see my point: I'm just trying to figure out how one can approach problems like this, or how others approach them. I am only a layman and don't know another thing about cars except how to drive them ;)
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