Friday, 15 January 2010

Driver distractons - the next generation

Hot on the heels (well, at least warm on the heels) of my last post about texting and driving, news from the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas is that Ford is blazing a trail with a whole new raft of potentially distracting technologies.  "MyFord" essentially offers mobile phone apps through the car using wifi or 3G technology.

I don't need to go into detail about why this might be bad - partly because I don't want to invite trouble (at least until we get the libel reform through), but mainly because the points have been well made elsewhere.  In this article, parallels are drawn with the mobile phone problem, which we already know so much about.  Meanwhile, the Consumer Reports Blog makes some excellent points about how MyFord has been designed according to principles learned from household and consumer products.  But, and I'll quote, "should portable electronics and home appliances really be the benchmark for automotive interface design?"

In all fairness, I haven't even seen the interface myself, so I'm just speculating, and I could therefore add a little balance to the argument.  Perhaps, if the interface is well designed, it might reduce distraction by bringing all the drivers' in-car infotainment interactions in one place.  The ergonomic view argues that an integrated interface is better than lots of disparate systems dotted all over the car, vying for attention with their bells and whistles.  And if, as we might as well accept, drivers aren't going to stop using their phones and will invariably bring other nomadic devices into the car, maybe it's better that we have a bit of control over that and design it into the car?

Probably this is clutching at straws.  But who am I to say - we should let the research sort it out.  And for that, maybe we should thank Ford for putting more research opportunities out there...

12 comments:

  1. I saw the Ford interface and it is a cheap rip off of my interface. Checkout http://actplace.net and my licensee site on http://iq-telematics.com.

    My design go a step further to create a monitoring and control so the drivers are not distracted by a call at a bad time.

    You can write me on manaboulsi@actplace.net

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