It's definitely beautiful. But I don't think it solves the issue of being able to use controls without looking. In fact, I think it makes it a little more difficult. A knob gives a user tactile feedback that just can't be replicated by a flat surface. That being said, I'd install this in my car simply for the aesthetic appeal ;)
Being a car designer myself and having worked on designing interiors and exteriors in vehicles for over 6+ years. Though visually nice, I am afraid this type of vapor ware only pleases visual curiosity. There are a lot of challenges we face in improving the UI of car interfaces. One of them is "reach zones" and visibility. Though this visual is pretty. I would argue the cognitive load for a user to recognize what he/she is doing would be detrimental to operating a vehicle. That said, if this were an ideal scenario, HUD and "hands free" would be the optimal for an autonomous driving experience. It's hard for me to share in the excitement of others, having known what it is like to problem solve, and create a rewarding experience for users and drives alike when I see this type of "dribbbalisation" of work. The solution here is not a solution at all. The execution is close to what current automotive companies are doing which is shoving an iPad'ish control display with "tron" like UI in car interiors. It is however beautifully executed, but falls short on solving any kind of problem or making the user feel empowered and knowledgable through an experience.
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 ;)
Great idea, it seems you are going in a good direction! However, I do think asking users to keep in mind 4 (not that intuitive) gestures with 2 variations each (leading to a mental load of 8 actions) is too much... I think we could mix a couple of big touchable areas there, more graphic and distinguishable actions. Something easily distinguishable from a driver's glimpse.
I feel like the gestures will be confusing for normal drivers. It's an interesting concept but users will be frustrated by incorrect actions by using the wrong gesture.
From the top of my head, I don't remember sitting in a car ever where I was not initially confused by the controls on the center console. No batter whether touch screen, buttons, or hybrid system. I guess you could say that the barrier of entry is pretty low ;) Ultimately it's all about using the right combination of controls and UIs together. My concept is just another option.
Yeah totally agree but tactile knobs are more affordable to touch and experiment with then a blank screen. Both options are learned interfaces, I feel this is where voice controls will win out at the end of the day. This is a very innovative interface that myself as a designer would appreciate and enjoy but I feel like a lot of people will be lost. Especially with the introduction of more gestures/options. Regardless great experimentation, its good to see someone rethinking this mess.
Kind of like a digital I drive?http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDrive
Personally I hate touchscreen controls. Simple interactions, like those in the video, are safest and easiest as steering wheel controls. More complex interactions are moving toward hands-free voice controls.
Very unique and interesting UI concept though. I just wouldn't see this in a car.
simple interactions...are safest and easiest as steering wheel controls
Agreed wholeheartedly. I have a Honda Civic with a steering wheel which allows me to do a huge array of useful things without ever taking my hands off the wheel.
I'm having a hard time imagining people using this though. He mentions not having to look for tiny buttons, but you still have to look at the screen to check when you have the correct input method for example.
I'm not sure this is better than just having a volume nob. Without using it for real it's hard to say. On the face of it, these actions seem hard to learn/remember, but there is a learning curve whenever you're in a new car.
Instead of having a tactile screen, we could have a tactile surface, with the inputs we make directly displayed behind the steering wheel. Better control, without taking the eyes off the road.
Good point about still having to look. I actually imagined this playing together with an additional small status display in the driver's POV. The icon and state could be shown on a head-up display or on the dash board behind the steering wheel.
yeah, good point. What I like about this video was the aim of being able to use the stereo without looking. I have a feeling that this might be easier with physical buttons, it's just that cars have done such a bad job so far.
But ultimately, a good voice control could take car of most of this functionality imo.
I like that this design addresses tactile feedback as an issue but I still feel as though there is a place for regular, old knobs and buttons.
It addresses bad tactile design, but maybe tactile is not meant for the car. At least not in the way it exists now. I find actual tactile car displays to be slow, badly designed, and unintuitive. If it's correctly designed, maybe the car would gain from it, allowing us to better watch the road.
Agreed but I think its a good move for touch screens. It allows for less concentration and quick adjustments.
Next is tackling knowing where controls are with out really looking.
I think if this concept included sound cues as a substitute for tactile responses it'd be awesome. Perhaps a scale of notes, varying pitches, or light tones/chimes could help further differentiate + give confirmation between modes and micro-controls.
Then you could control it with your hands, listen, and keep your eyes on the road.
Perhaps even integrate a little haptic feedback.
I think that's the missing piece.
Really nicely done, explained, and demonstrated Matthaeus - bravo! I love the simplicity and thought you put it into this.
Did you think about haptic feedback at all? One way to reinforce each mode of control would be to create unique haptic "heartbeats" so without looking you'd know what you're controlling. And having the screen be embedded in the car means there's no (real) battery concerns...
I do think though that the ultimate solution for something like this will have to divorce the control from the display — bringing the displayed information into the fabled HUD for cars that never really got any traction in the commercial auto industry. That's really the only way to make sure the driver's eyes don't leave the road...
As a lot of people have said already, it definitely addresses problems of doing simple things with little concentration.
However, when it gets into the details of switching 'modes', for example from volume/input, to navigating a playlist or scrubbing through a song, there is an additional layer of 'muscle memory' that must be learned (and I say 'learned' because it's not immediately intuitive to use different numbers of fingers on a touch screen in my experience).
My favorite thing is the first one he shares - how the interface treats the initial input as +/-0, instead of giving the user the whole scale and an indication of the current position. That's cool, and ironically I hate when physical dials do this, for example my camera has something like that and I wish it just had a regular dial with marks painted directly on it)
I think there's a LOT to be explored in the space of - for the sake of lacking a catchy name - "relatively positioned UI elements"
Looks nice but neglects lots of features that need a screen to work.
What about GPS? How do you navigate through playlists/albums?
Arguably these gestures would require more time to get right than the current versions. For example, volume controls on the steering wheel (which are already commonplace) allow drivers to adjust the setting whilst still looking at the road - something this can't do.
My intention was to propose this as a mode that could be invoked at any time - on top of any other UI that might be on the screen presently. More complicated interactions could definitely still happen on the touch screen in normal mode. When you're stopped at a red light you can still take all the time in the world to set up Driving Directions with a more traditional interface. Only while driving, you would want to use this mode for quick, rough interactions.
Good points though!
This is awesome.
It's not perfect, but really good. It's great to see someone thinking about these ideas in detail.
I only wish car companies put a similar amount of focus into these things. It's depressing that car UIs are so bad, and it's probably leading to actual deaths.
leading to deaths = fact.
"5,474 people were killed and 448,000 individuals were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2009"
However, I don't think this is any less distracting. I still need to take my hands off the wheel and I still need to look away occasionally.
It's a nice thought experiment well done, but I don't think the solution lies in an improved UI, I think it lies in no (visual) UI.
"OK car, radio 2" "OK car, mp3 player" "OK car, spotify playlist 4"
Good points, but I just like that he's trying to think up a solution. Doesn't seem like car companies are doing anything innovative in this area.
they are innovating, just very slowly. This kind of update has to fall in line with release cycles for cars. Cars have multi year development cycles.
I used to live near Jaguar/Landrover and I went in to meet the (then newly formed) in car entertainment team. They are looking at what in car entertainment is like in the internet connected / mobile world, it's just a hard sell to the old-school mechanical guys who are now VP of something or other.
+1 - I like creative endeavours, nobody said this CONCEPT is the ultimate solution.
I love the way he said "driver" at 0:07. I had to listen to it about 15 times.
So well presented and designed. Looks amazing. Some good arguments in this thread too! Surprised to see only one mention of voice control. Surely that's the key to a true breakthrough in car UX. A combination of voice control and buttons is where it's at.
I wonder how easy it is to clump your hand on a touchscreen in the dash while driving (ergonomically). Doing the 5-finger claw everytime I want to adjust the AC seems awkward/odd. Maybe adjustable mapping? Very interesting though.
All this talk about taking your eyes off the road will be silly talk when google is driving all of us around.