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A New Car UI

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the eyes-on-the-road dept.

GUI 237

An anonymous reader writes "As our cars have become more complex, so have the user interfaces with which we control them. Using the current crop of infotainment systems embedded in a car's dash is byzantine and frustrating. UI designer Matthaeus Krenn has put up a post demonstrating his efforts to reinvent in-car UIs in a way that doesn't force people to squint at tiny buttons, instead leaving more of their attention for the road. It's based on using a touch-screen display that realigns the interface to wherever you put your fingers down. It also reacts differently depending on how many fingers you use to touch the screen."

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First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281009)

Post?

Here's the problem, vehicle designers (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46281687)

Cars and trucks and motorcycles bounce . Plus, we can't always be looking. See, so we can't always control where we're touching it; we can't even always control how many fingers we put down.

We need to be able to talk to these systems. My Garmin GPS does this. I don't have to touch it. I say "voice command" and off we go. No touching. Bouncing doesn't matter. I don't have to look.

Until you get to this level of interface, you're doing it wrong, and furthermore, as of this point in time, you're also behind the curve, because others are doing it right.

Thanks for this, slashdot, just this morning I was cursing at a touch interface in my vehicle.

and also... (2)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46281743)

Coffee. Fingerprints. Greasy French Fry prints. Rather use my hand to drive the vehicle. Hold hands with my lady.

Also, that Garmin GPS? Talks to my phone by bluetooth. Don't have to touch or look at my phone, either.

Touchscreens totally suck. Everywhere. No exceptions. Even the iPad, best touchscreen ever, sucks. Still fingerprints. Still uses completely opaque "gestures" to do things I have no idea I was "asking" for. Requires looking. But you know what? I can TALK to my iPad. Writing's on the wall, vehicle makers. Speech is it, period, end of story, get on that, dammit.

From TFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46282045)

>Cars and trucks and motorcycles bounce .

Your touch will never be off: As your fingers touch the screen, the desired control moves in place to always be at your fingertips.

UI Designers Suck (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 months ago | (#46281041)

Seriously, any time a "UI designer" sits down to re-invent something, the result is inevitably terrible. They focus on whatever new-age idea they have is, and often completely miss the core problem while coming up with some genius solution to a minor one.

My uneducated and rather simple view of how to do it:
- Physical buttons for the stuff you might/can safely touch while driving (basic stereo controls, temperature controls, wiper settings, etc)
- Knobs with fixed ranges for things like temperature (so you can set them without looking). Stuff like volume can be infinite as adjustments are immediately noticeable while adjusting.
- Displays that you can quickly glance at, preferably without having to look down too much (I’m a huge fan of the multi-level dash Honda put in their civic).
- Stuff you will be adjusting while stopped or maybe at a red light can be whatever you want.. fancy touchscreen, display in a weird spot, who cares.

Much as I don’t normally lean in the nancy-state direction, I actually wish these complex touchscreen interfaces were disabled while driving. It just seems like a ridiculous safety concern (and yes I know the passenger could adjust it while you safely drive). Honestly I don’t care if someone is playing with one and smashes themselves into a highway divider, but I don’t want someone smashing into _me_ because they are trying to figure out why their cloud streaming music feed dealie isn’t working.

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46281111)

- Physical buttons for the stuff you might/can safely touch while driving (basic stereo controls, temperature controls, wiper settings, etc)

Light dip, ride height, traction control, speed warning...

The best thing a car can do is just handle stuff for you. Of course, then it tends to become failure-prone, like the AC in my A8 which is blowing almost-cold from the center and blowing burning hot from the sides when I ask for AC.

Re:UI Designers Suck (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46281251)

I found a car radio in the desert a couple months back.

It has Mechanical Push Buttons for tuning!!! I am not making this up!

You turn a knob to turn on the power and adjust volume. Another one moves a mechanical red needle across a screen to show approximate frequency you are tuning into. And the most stunning thing is this - When it does not have a high quality signal it still plays, albeit with a modicum of static!

Astounding. Such a futuristic device must have fallen out of a UFO, from an interstellar civilization years beyond our comprehension.

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46281347)

It has Mechanical Push Buttons for tuning!!! I am not making this up!

Yes, I remember those. They broke, too. The best media player has no moving parts. Indeed, in my F250 I yoinked the stereo and slapped a CB in the hole, and I replaced the stereo with a $20 2 in/4 out amplifier to which I connect my cellphone. No more problems.

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

clonehappy (655530) | about 6 months ago | (#46281561)

And the most stunning thing is this - When it does not have a high quality signal it still plays, albeit with a modicum of static!

Static?! Unacceptable, sir. This is 2014!! Everything must play in crystal-clear digital HD* sound quality 100% of the time**, or I just won't have it!! Inferior 20th century technology is beneath me.
 
* (decoded and re-encoded multiple times at 96kb/s with a bad codec)
 
**(that it will actually play, the 50% of the time the signal fades notwithstanding)

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46281127)

If a committee is formed to establish a standard it could take years, possibly decades. Then there will be lawsuits and appeals, because some industry group feels left out or will be economically harmed by a change in demands for parts & services.

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 6 months ago | (#46281529)

On the plus side, once the standard is set it will be considered obsolete, ignored and added to the pile of already existing standards. And then we can start all over again! Thus ensuring that UI designers (and lawyers) never want for business!

I mean, seriously; can you imagine the damage it would do to our civilization of the people behind some of the worst UI catastrophes (car UIs, Windows 8, Slashdot beta) had to go out and get real jobs?

Re:UI Designers Suck (3, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | about 6 months ago | (#46281507)

Seriously, any time a "UI designer" sits down to re-invent something, the result is inevitably terrible. They focus on whatever new-age idea they have is, and often completely miss the core problem while coming up with some genius solution to a minor one.

This, if you want to make driving a car less complex, make them simpler. Take away the toys that only serve as distractions.

My uneducated and rather simple view of how to do it:
- Physical buttons for the stuff you might/can safely touch while driving (basic stereo controls, temperature controls, wiper settings, etc)
- Knobs with fixed ranges for things like temperature (so you can set them without looking). Stuff like volume can be infinite as adjustments are immediately noticeable while adjusting.
- Displays that you can quickly glance at, preferably without having to look down too much (I’m a huge fan of the multi-level dash Honda put in their civic).
- Stuff you will be adjusting while stopped or maybe at a red light can be whatever you want.. fancy touchscreen, display in a weird spot, who cares.

Physical buttons and knobs are controls you can use without looking at them. You only need to memorise their locations (should only take 5 or so minutes) and once you've done that you never need to look at them again.

A big problem today are the sheer number of "drivers aids" that add beeps, buzzers, warbles and lights that only serve to distract the driver. I took a new VW Golf out for a test drive, for almost the entire time I was beeing beeped at by something. The blindspot check when I'm not changing lanes, the lane assist on a single lane divided road (it didn't work) and others. I know how to drive, I know how to keep a safe distance, how to check my mirrors and blind spots before turning/changing lanes and I know how to stay in my lane. For someone who doesn't know how to do these things, a buzzer wont help them as they'll just ignore it (as they ignore everything else on the road) and keep driving dangerously.

Needless to say, I bought an old Honda rather than buying a new Golf, better performance out of a K20, less likely to break.

Re:UI Designers Suck (2)

immaterial (1520413) | about 6 months ago | (#46281777)

Physical buttons and knobs are controls you can use without looking at them. You only need to memorise their locations (should only take 5 or so minutes) and once you've done that you never need to look at them again.

I'm also a big proponent of physical buttons, but this guy's idea might actually be better - you don't even need to know where the buttons are. The specifics need a little refinement IMO, but this is the first car touchscreen interface idea I've seen that is acceptable to me.

Re:UI Designers Suck (0)

penix1 (722987) | about 6 months ago | (#46282073)

I currently have an HP Envy M7 laptop with a multi-touch touch screen. It can recognize 10 finger touch gestures... Never use it! Besides despising touch screens in general, multi-touch just adds to the annoyance. Further, multi-touch will still make you have to look at it to ensure you selected the right control. Ooops! I touched it with 3 fingers instead of 2 and now it is adjusting the temperature instead of the radio.

Just stick with knobs / fixed buttons please. All this silly touch screen shit is pure distraction and another expensive part when it breaks.

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 months ago | (#46281801)

I entered a writing contest, won a multi-thousand dollar prize, from an unspecified automaker who wanted to re-imagine the automotive user interface.

I just rambled a bit about putting a "real" PC in to have enough oomph to do things like run open CV, track gaze following on the occupants (especially driver) etc. Apparently it was what they were looking for.

Re:UI Designers Suck (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46282155)

Touchscreens completely remove the physical feedback that makes using these sorts of devices safe while in motion. In my old mid 90's car I can adjust the radio volume/source, set HVAC and modify other dashboard driver aids like rear wiper/demist without looking. Each control is separate and distinctive enough to enable this. Touchscreens rely on visual feedback to see that you're in the right mode, that the system has correctly identified your gesture and that you're about to change the setting that you thought you were.

The benefit to a touchscreen is context switching. The same control surface could potentially be used to modify navigation, HVAC, audio and car configuration. While this has its advantages, I don't think it's hard to imagine drivers losing focus on the road, trying to work out how lowering the volume turned into them freezing with setting climate control to as cold as possible.

There's a place for it - but for anything you might do while moving, physical feedback still has its place. The "car UI" needs to be considered wholistically - touchscreens alone is not the way forward from here.

Not a car UI (5, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 6 months ago | (#46281045)

This is not a car UI. It is a UI for the car's entertainment system.

The car's UI is still a steering wheel and throttle/brake pedals.

Re:Not a car UI (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46281105)

Don't forget the clutch pedal.

Re:Not a car UI (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46281139)

&
Odometer
Speedometer
Gas Gauge
Battery Gauge
Engine RPM (Tachometer)
Temperature
Bulbs Out
Low Oil
Fuel Economy
Etc.

Re:Not a car UI (1)

number17 (952777) | about 6 months ago | (#46281465)

Can't say I use your list while im driving. Do you have a really really old car? Or perhaps a Ford or GM? Here is how i organize it.

Use all the time

Speedometer
Gas Gauge

Use when starting the car or when there is a problem.

Odometer
Battery Gauge
Engine RPM (Tachometer)
Temperature
Bulbs Out
Low Oil
Fuel Economy
Etc.

Re:Not a car UI (1)

immaterial (1520413) | about 6 months ago | (#46281793)

If you're not using the latter list while you're driving, how do you know the car is having a problem before it's too late? Do you drive until the engine seizes up and *then* look at your temperature gauge?

Re:Not a car UI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281579)

Fuel economy is not a standard part of a car UI.
In order for a car to be road legal it needs a gas pedal, breaks, steering wheel, wheels, a front windscreen, rear-view mirror,driver side mirror, headlights and taillights.
All the other stuff is just niceties.

Re:Not a car UI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281143)

Phew! I was worried there for a second. You never know what these UI designers are going to destroy next.

Re:Not a car UI (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 6 months ago | (#46281407)

This is not a car UI. It is a UI for the car's entertainment system.

The car's UI is still a steering wheel and throttle/brake pedals.

And clutch, indicator stalk, light stalk/knob, wiper knob, mirrors, instrument cluster...

Driving a car is never as simple as people think, this is why we have such shocking drivers.

Meanwhile, on the Open Source Front... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281789)

Car's entertainment system?

As a driver, my focus should be on the road not being entertained! (Put down the cell phone and drive you stupid #^%*@!!!)

As a passenger... $25 for a Raspberry Pi. RaspBMC is free. It plays mpeg4 files just fine, high-def or standard-def, recorded off mythtv and a hauppauge HD-PVR. (Or downloaded from youtube with that firefox add-on, in mpeg4 format so they play without transcoding.) Car USB power adapters are available in the checkout impulse buy area of my local hardware store. 10-amp car cigarette-lighter 3-way splitters are available at pep-boys. Headrest-mounted DVD players (that can handle output from a Raspberry Pi) are available in the automotive section of Walmart. (Caveat: 720x240 resolution, half standard-def (NTSC).) Cables from Monoprice. Wireless keyboards and mice from whatever slickdeals has listed today. A couple of usb-sticks and you can give every passenger their own DVR with hundreds of hours of programming. Expensive? Perhaps, when you add all these little parts up. But compared to the $3k they wanted for a simple DVD player in my last car, it's pennies on the dollar! And feature-wise, there is no comparison. One DVD for all the kids with unskipable advertisements where you need to change the disk every 20 minutes vs each kid gets their own full-featured DVR completely under their own control (wireless mouse/keyboard) with hundreds of hours of their favorite programs to choose from?

Just don't forget the headphones!!! That's not a mistake I'll feel the need to repeat again anytime soon...

Jesus. How do these car companies stay in business selling such overpriced utter crap!

I bet fisher-price could (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 6 months ago | (#46281049)

Design a big, friendly, easy to use, uncluttered interface.

Not to state the obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281061)

But this wouldn't be an issue if we just used good old fashioned buttons...

Re:Not to state the obvious... (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 months ago | (#46281121)

Amen.

Touchscreens lack tactile feedback, which make them terrible for using without looking. Having a physical button on the other hand that's always in the same place and gives you feedback when you toggle it works really damn well for this.

IMO, touchscreens should be for when stopped. Everything else should be physical buttons on either the steering wheel (for frequently used stuff) or console somewhere.

Re:Not to state the obvious... (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 6 months ago | (#46281735)

At work we recently got ourselves a smart tablet ink thing for one of the conference rooms so people can give 'chalk talks' electronically. It's a touch screen with a special pen like the one in the checkout counter that lets you doodle on your powerpoints.

So 1k for the computer, probably 2-3k for the tablet, 1-2k for the projector, and God knows how much for the software licenses. The thing sort of works, but occasionally crashes, and takes a while to set up.

Back in the cave days of the mid 1990's you'd use an overhead projector, and pay less than 2k for it.

Re:Not to state the obvious... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46281985)

Back in the perfectly prehistoric 60's we would use - wait for it - a real chalkboard. With chalk, even.

Dumb (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46281069)

The reason current car controls work so well is that you don't have to look at them. You build up muscle memory and can simply reach out and adjust the volume or switch to a different radio station. A touch screen you have to look at is a massive downgrade and far more dangerous.

Re:Dumb (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 6 months ago | (#46281109)

A touch screen you have to look at is a massive downgrade and far more dangerous.

The point of this is that you don't need to look at it.

Re:Dumb (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 6 months ago | (#46281283)

A touch screen you have to look at is a massive downgrade and far more dangerous.

The point of this is that you don't need to look at it.

How do you adjust the temperature without looking at the screen to see where it is now, and where you want it to go? How do you change the air direction from front defroster to foot vents without looking at the screen?

For something with immediate feedback like radio volume, this would work well, but maybe other things require some feedback -- a physical knob can give you immediate feedback through its position. In my car, I know that when the temperature control knob is straight up and down that it's in the middle setting, and I turn it 90 degrees left or right to make it wamer or cooler.

However, in the other car, for some reason the designers chose to use a physical knob with a lighted dot [images-amazon.com] to show where the knob is pointed, so you still have to look at it to see what setting it's on.

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281835)

Auditory feedback gives you much more information than inferring something from knob position.

Re:Dumb (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 6 months ago | (#46281899)

Auditory feedback gives you much more information than inferring something from knob position.

But I don't want more information - I don't care if the temperature is set at 72 degrees or 74 degrees, I just want to now that the knob is straight up and down now, so it's in the middle setting, and so if I turn it a bit to the right, it'll make it a bit warmer - and I can make that adjustment faster than the computer can read out the current temperature. For this same reason, I don't like digital temperature readouts on climate control systems - when the guy in the back seat says he's cold, I just want to make the car a bit warmer, I don't want to watch the display while I push the button to make it 4.3 degrees warmer.

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281953)

How do you adjust the temperature without looking at the screen to see where it is now, and where you want it to go? How do you change the air direction from front defroster to foot vents without looking at the screen?

Auditory feedback.

I have no idea why everyone on this thread is so against the interface that was shown... I personally hate all the dials and buttons in my car and would love a more streamlined system. Currently, I have, on either side of the steering wheel, a set of near-identically layed out controls (one for music, one for cruise control), another set of near identical controls (signals and wipers). In the center panel, I have 2 dials for temperature, 1 dial for music volume, 6 radio station buttons (which do different things in different modes), 6 more music control buttons, 4 more smaller music control buttons, 6 main climate control buttons, 4 more smaller climate control buttons, 2 3-stage switches for seat heaters. Additionally, like 4 more mystery buttons to the left of the steering wheel, some buttons near the center mirror that control the sunroof, a button on the dash (resets the trip meter or changes some of the modes, depending on how you press it), and also all the standard controls (windows, locks, window-locks, things-that-you-need-to-drive).

No way in hell am I going to develop muscle memory for all of these. Any good method of streamlining this mess is good with me...

Re:Dumb (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 6 months ago | (#46281995)

How do you adjust the temperature without looking at the screen to see where it is now, and where you want it to go? How do you change the air direction from front defroster to foot vents without looking at the screen?

Audio or haptic feedback. The same as you do when you use a knob without looking.

However, in the other car, for some reason the designers chose to use a physical knob with a lighted dot [images-amazon.com] to show where the knob is pointed, so you still have to look at it to see what setting it's on.

Why do you care what setting it is on? Either you want it cooler or warmer, and you turn the knob in the appropriate direction by about how much you think you need to. Swiping gestures are no different in this respect.

Re:Dumb (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 6 months ago | (#46282049)

How do you adjust the temperature without looking at the screen to see where it is now, and where you want it to go? How do you change the air direction from front defroster to foot vents without looking at the screen?

Audio or haptic feedback. The same as you do when you use a knob without looking.

However, in the other car, for some reason the designers chose to use a physical knob with a lighted dot [images-amazon.com] to show where the knob is pointed, so you still have to look at it to see what setting it's on.

Why do you care what setting it is on? Either you want it cooler or warmer, and you turn the knob in the appropriate direction by about how much you think you need to. Swiping gestures are no different in this respect.

I care because when my wife in the backseat says she's cold, as soon as I touch the knob I know that it's turned up 3/4 of the way and if I make it any warmer, the car is going to be too warm. I don't want to touch the touch screen, wait for the computer to say "Currently set to 78 degrees" before making the gesture. With a knob I can determine the current setting and adjust it before the computer could even say "Currently".

Re:Dumb (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 6 months ago | (#46282207)

Why does it need to be a screen? How about a multi-touch surface that does not display anything. You could use beeps or voice synth for telling the driver what mode you're in, and what you're changing the setting to.

In fact, take it one step further and don't even have a surface to touch. Just install a kinect or leap motion interface. That should do it, and would require minimal redesign.

Re:Dumb (1)

khasim (1285) | about 6 months ago | (#46281289)

The point of this is that you don't need to look at it.

Watch the video. You do need to look at it.

Essentially, it is attempting to replace analog controls with virtual controls and it gets them wrong. With analog controls you can have force-feedback to let you know when you've clicked over to a new setting.

With this, you have to look.

Not to mention that their example iPad is larger than all of the entertainment/environmental controls already in my car. I'm not willing to give up that much real estate. And I don't see how it would work on a smaller screen.

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281853)

Auditory feedback gives you much more information than inferring something from knob position. How many clicks before I've got the radio in AUX mode? I always have to look.

Re:Dumb (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46281997)

Auditory feedback gives you much more information than inferring something from knob position. How many clicks before I've got the radio in AUX mode? I always have to look.

I'm hard of hearing, you insensitive clod.

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281343)

A touch screen you have to look at is a massive downgrade and far more dangerous.

The point of this is that you don't need to look at it.

The article fails to support the implied claim that you don't have to look at the touchscreen if it's using swipe-style gestures.

The problem is the touchscreen in general, the solution is to use old-fashioned buttons and knobs, or add voice integration. Not to add a bunch of hand-waving.

Re:Dumb (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about 6 months ago | (#46281787)

The point of this is that you don't need to look at it.

you also don't need to look at a knob, so what problem are we fixing? the car industry's need to gouge me for the latest in automotive technology?

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281205)

RTFA

Re:Dumb (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 6 months ago | (#46282107)

You must be new here.

Sounds like learning a musical instrument (1)

MpVpRb (1423381) | about 6 months ago | (#46281083)

Whenever I hear the term "muscle memory" it reminds me of learning to play a musical instrument

That thing looks as baffling and intimidating as a saxophone to a new user

Sure..once you learn it, it might be cool, but how many people have the physical talent and time to learn it

I tried for years to learn piano, practiced a lot, and just never could get it

Re:Sounds like learning a musical instrument (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46281169)

Whenever I hear the term "muscle memory" it reminds me of learning to play a musical instrument

That thing looks as baffling and intimidating as a saxophone to a new user

Sure..once you learn it, it might be cool, but how many people have the physical talent and time to learn it

I tried for years to learn piano, practiced a lot, and just never could get it

Awright, Mac, why is it the fault of your car that you ran the light?

It distracted me when it went blank and started installing an update, then told me to flip the turn signal both ways and hit the horn once to reboot.

"Awright, Mac, why is it the fault of your car tha (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 6 months ago | (#46281379)

-t you ran the light?" "I fliped the turn signal both ways then hit the horn once. When I applied the brakes after that, rather than stopping, a high-fidelity audio recording of some Slashdot shouted out 'Hi Mom'" I was for a rather similar reason assigned the special duty of ensuring that no more easter eggs were ever planted in Medior's CD-ROMs ever again. Our best client ever got the idea that our first deliverable would be a production run of 250,000 home shopping catalog CDs, Just In Time For Christmas. Perhaps you can see where I am going here.

You had the wrong teacher. I could teach you. (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 6 months ago | (#46281263)

I've actually been wanting to take a stab at teaching piano, so I could practice on you, even if remotely. The best teacher I ever had was Angela Bonilla of Vancouver, British Columbia. She is from Colombia, and has a master's in concert piano from the conservatory in versailles, france so she is no slouch. Most piano teachers have very set methods. For example one teacher I had was very fixated on how I should learn certain specific songs from certain specific lesson books. Those books are admittedly good books, but there are certain songs that I could just never learn how to play, which frustrated both of us. But Angela would observe what specific problems I had, then on the spot would come up with very simple exercises that, when I practiced them, would solve those specific problems. Each time I tried to learn a new song she would observe new problems, then develop new exercises. That is how I would teach you. It is very uncommon for teachers of any sort to do something like that. But yes, muscle memory is how one learns many things. I understand that it is actually straightforward to learn how to shred on a guitar, it just takes a lot of time and patience. My piano compositions [warplife.com] . All creative commons and the sheet music to two of them. It would be very easy for you to play "Emergence". "Recursion" is easier than it looks.

What happened to good old knobs? (2)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 6 months ago | (#46281097)

The thing about real knobs is that they are all directly available at any time and they don't change their location and meaning. Like most virtual knobs in "touch" interfaces do (depending on screen/context).
If you want to do that with a touch screen (i.e. have fixed position / meaning knobs), then you'll realize you could as well implement it with hardware knobs, as the touch screen is as useful an ashtray on a motorcycle.

In addition to all this, a traditional knob can be used with wet / gloved hands too.

Re:What happened to good old knobs? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46281185)

Knobs?

Such finesse controls are for luddites.

You'll take a screen, which you have to pound your fist against to get it to work properly, and like it!

Re:What happened to good old knobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281287)

Real knobs are just too expensive for what people are willing to pay. Just look at the people that buy Hondas instead of real cars. They'd rather buy garbage than pay a little more to get a decent car that will last longer and have more reasonably priced parts.

Re:What happened to good old knobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281691)

Are you for fucking real? I don't even like Hondas (never had one, in fact), but they last for fucking ever!

Re:What happened to good old knobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46282147)

> they last for fucking ever

wat

But knobs are so expensive! (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 6 months ago | (#46281299)

While touch screens are costly, the parts count to the manufacturer of the end product is just the screen, a ribbon cable and a couple connectors. The complexity is in the software, but there is no per-unit cost for that. The grossly offensive on-screen UIs we see these days has a lot to do with electronics manufacturers not having to "BOM" - "Bill of Materials" - a twisty maze of little parts all alike. It also simplifies assembly and packaging, if there are few or no buttons. Then they try to sell us on how not having buttons makes us happier, when in reality they just don't want to face the very real possibility, as actually happened to Apple Computer when I worked there in the mid-90s, that there is a sudden product shortage of an otherwise hot-selling product, because Apple's supplier of some manner of arcane kind of screw - yes really, the kind of connector you install with a screwdriver :O - ran totally out of them.

Forget touch. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281123)

Just make voice control actually usable or, if on a tight budget, buy one of the many fine automobiles that have knobs you can use by touch and muscle memory.

More attention to the road? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281133)

Try to use a damn touch screen without looking. There is a reason to why there are real buttons in a car: haptic feedback tells you what you are doing..

Re:More attention to the road? (2)

gargleblast (683147) | about 6 months ago | (#46281523)

Try to use a damn touch screen without looking. There is a reason to why there are real buttons in a car: haptic feedback tells you what you are doing..

Yes, but one minor quibble: ordinary physical controls provide tactile feedback. Haptic feedback is artificial: vibration, etc.

Eight is Not Enough (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46281137)

(there's a subject that wrote itself).

I don't like the interface for a number of reasons, but a big one is that eight separate controls is not very many at all. In that same giant space you could have put in eight physical sliders and had exactly the same benefits!

But also I do not like the design, because I don't think it does something they promise it can do - keep your eyes off the screen. For less commonly used commands I'd always be forgetting how many figures to use, or if it was pinching style or sweeping style. And even if you did remember you'd have to look at the screen to make sure it hadn't accidentally got the wrong version of your touch.

Basically I think you'd be better off with a touchscreen that had track-pad like areas where you could swipe up/down to change settings. Swipe gestures inherently do not care where you start from either, but with a real screen you can have more than eight things you can adjust.

Re:Eight is Not Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281987)

8 controls using multi finger gestures for commonly accessed items while driving. Then, single finger, ipad like navigation for stuff that you don't access while driving. it's not like that space just gets wasted - it's still a screen and can still show you navigation or whatever.

kreme of the kode solar magnet star cars (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281151)

arrive even before we've decided where to go? zillions of miles per 'charge'.... drive like bruce willis for a fraction of the cost.... see you there

8 is not enough (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46281187)

Lets list the controls are used quite regularly
volume
source
tuning
playlist
preset selection
temperature
vent distribution
AC
fan speed
re circulation
window defrost
rear wipers/washer
That's 13. Add in phone and/or gps interface and you get even more.
Then there is the issue of remembering what gesture means what and the difficulty of gestures when wearing gloves.

The idea needs work
(BTW, anyone notice the reference to the very old sitcom?)

Re:8 is not enough (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 months ago | (#46281521)

you forgot heated/cooled seats, sunroof, windows, seat position...

Jynx! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46281617)

BTW, anyone notice the reference to the very old sitcom?

It seems we both had a great idea about the same time.

But, I think you should have spelled out eight to make the reference closer.

I admire the list you put together, I was going to do the same list but just didn't have the motivation to list it all out.

The best auto infotainment system I've seen (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 6 months ago | (#46281197)

I don't recall the car make or model. It belonged to a friend of mine so I can ask him if you really want to know. The controls for the radio were mounted on the steering column, in which a way that he could hold the wheel securely, and steer with both hands, while adjusting the radio. The best music player UI I've ever personally seen was in my first-gen iPad. Too bad I sold it when I was broke and hungry. Someday I will buy a new iPad, but if apple has "improved" it then surely I will hurl my new iPad off the golden gate bridge. The very worst UI for a music player I've ever seen was in my iPhone 4, when held in landscape mode. When held in Portrait mode it was a good UI design for the Portrait mode of such a small screen. But when rotated to landscape, rather than laying out the familiar, helpful UI in a broader, shorter way, it changed entirely to something that made no sense to me. What absolutely drove me berserk was that most of Apple's own Apps would not permit Landscape text entry. I'm a big guy. I have big fingers, and I'm old so I don't see so well. Using the on-screen keyboard on an iPhone in portrait mode makes me want to hurl it into the sea as well.

Re:The best auto infotainment system I've seen (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46281773)

Several cars have done that in the past. Some were way overkill, with far too much control others, minimal.

change for the sake of change (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46281201)

One thing Windows 8, newer google maps with chrome, newer YouTube, office 2013, gnome 3, and some will say Windows 7, is change is almost universally bad!

If it ain't broke don't fix it!

Art professors have no business mucketing around with design. I hate the new touch, little to no color, All CAPS, flat, one criteria based (only consumption, or road focused), and no detail to anything else

6 fingers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281223)

My interface is better because I allow user to use 6 fingers!

Re:6 fingers (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 6 months ago | (#46281429)

My interface is better because I allow user to use 6 fingers!

I'm a cyborg, damn you, Spock!

Here, how about if I use this one finger?

You don't need a screen for that at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281249)

My invention is a knob. Grab it with two fingers - volume control, grab it with three fingers - change station, grab it with four...and so on. For extra function you can pull the knob out or push it in.

Please tell me I'm not dreaming! (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about 6 months ago | (#46281275)

Please tell me the browser cache is screwing with me. Please tell me that my wife wants to have sex more often ( ok that isn't going to happen, I have a 12 and 15 year old) Do we really have Slashdot.org back?

The Ultimate UI (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46281319)

This [postimg.org] .

Touch Screen (4, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 6 months ago | (#46281377)

Touch screens. There's your problem. They are a very poor choice for an interface in an environment where you can't devote 100% of your eyesight to it.

Auto makers seem to make a virtue out of having touch screens for everything a the moment just for the sake of using a touch screen, whereas what they should be doing is using the most appropriate interface to promote safety and clarity. To my mind that's distinct, physical buttons without too much function overloading. In other words, exactly what we had until the 90s.

Re:Touch Screen (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 6 months ago | (#46281637)

Exactly! I hope he patents this obvious design so others can't use it.

Nothing beats real world radio buttons, knobs, push knobs, sliders, buttons... especially the ones with tactile feedback. Think of keyboards...

This has nothing to do with "get off my lawn" syndrome. The old way is sometimes the better way. I would think techies would be less impressed by new tech; therefore, they could be more level headed about adopting it. But it seems that it splits when they get "over the hill" in their 30s; which only adds to the stereotype that they are warn out in the industry.

Car Temp: most people I know simply go to the extreme of HOT or COLD with no concept of how it works. Cut costs and just have a fan control - let the car decide binary heat/cold. The users are not smart enough for more than that (fan off == do nothing.) Or placate them.... "My car has an Overdrive heater setting! The knob lights up and everything! How great is that?!"

Re:Touch Screen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46282177)

+100 to you and the GP.

Touch screens intended for use by the driver have absolutely no place in a car.

Re:Touch Screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281649)

yes, and why not Braille the buttons, so that we don't even need to look?
most keyboards have some sort of bump for f & j keys. why not similar on a car?

of course, a small HUD + steering wheel buttons is superior to any of these solutions.

Using hands is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281395)

Sorry, but if you're still focusing on hand-based UIs in cars, you're doin' it wrong.

Voice command is where it's at. Distracted driving is illegal in almost every state.

Re:Using hands is the problem (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46282051)

Sorry, but if you're still focusing on hand-based UIs in cars, you're doin' it wrong.

Voice command is where it's at. Distracted driving is illegal in almost every state.

Car, please add some reverb to the stereo.

I'm sorry Dave, did you say "Reverse?"

Sticky fingers or How I Learned To Love Chips (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 6 months ago | (#46281411)

What could possibly go wrong when I remove my concentration from the road ahead and try to use a device that malfunctions when I eat chips or fries?

It's like they don't GET Americans.

Really.

vitally important: (1)

jafac (1449) | about 6 months ago | (#46281427)

The UI absolutely MUST refresh/respond/update quickly - in fact, instantly. No matter what.

Driver takes eyes off the road to find soft-button on touchscreen.
Driver looks back at the road and continues driving.
Cheapo CPU takes 1-10 seconds to register the touch event, process, and update the screen. Possibly longer if device is running "value add" software (adware from manufacturers trying to sell software-as-a-service, (like OnStar or other bullshit) on the car), possibly longer if request relies on data that can't be retrieved without latency issues, etc.
Driver keeps looking down every 2 seconds to see if there was a response, whether it was valid, whether he touched the right button, whether he's got network connectivity, is this thing even on? CRASH.

Death to UIX experts. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281463)

I used to hate interfaces designed by programmers and engineer. Oh how I once thought that they should let designers design the interfaces. Then, we handed the interface design to 'uix' "experts" and now we have the same level of incomprehensible bullshit. It just looks prettier.

Car UI should not force people watch it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281469)

If car UI want people watch it, take careful watching that is very dangerous.

I want a car (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46281497)

Not a digital entertainment center on wheels.

Does anyone sell a *real* car now?

Re:I want a car (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46281619)

Finally, a brave person to step up and let us know what a real car is. Thanks you brave sir, thank you for shooting off your mouth with inanities. Without people like you we would be hipster free. Won't anyone think of the hipsters?

You closed minded git.

Re:I want a car (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46281711)

Id rather be closed minded then having my brains falling out, which apparently yours have already done so. You wouldn't recognize a real car even if it ran over you.

What passes for a car today, is not.

Re:I want a car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281651)

Ariel.

Re:I want a car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281799)

Does anyone sell a *real* car now?

Jeep?

If it's no tactile (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46281601)

people will have to look at it.
Touch UI for cars is a bad idea. Dangerous, and will break cross model and manufacture consistency.

re-inventing the wheel (1)

confused one (671304) | about 6 months ago | (#46281667)

in a car, while driving... touch screen bad, buttons good. Having to look at the screen to see what your doing, while driving, bad. having tactile feedback, good. New isn't always better.

Good example: Ford's implementation of MyTouch has the more complex controls on the touch screen; but, still implements knobs and buttons for the basic entertainment system and climate controls. They did the right thing here.

Bad Example: Ford implemented PowerShift manual mode by putting a rocker switch on the side of the shifter... For someone who's been driving for 30 years that's just not intuitive; and, speaking as an engineer, it's a poor choice from the human factors perspective.

Just make the current buttons bigger! (2)

defaria (741527) | about 6 months ago | (#46281679)

This is ridiculous! You mean now I have to learn and think about how many fingers do I use to control control X and do they need to be far apart or not?!?

It's simple, just make the current buttons bigger for the kinds of adjustments you are likely to make when driving. All too often toggles and play/pause, etc are small buttons to look appealing instead of large buttons because they are likely to be used frequently. Usage of screen real estate often sucks big time. For example, in my car, when the bluetooth is paused I get a small button to make it play again. It takes up about 10% on the right hand side of the screen. The other 90% is completely fucking blank! Put the damn play button in the center of the screen and make it fucking big. It's the most likely thing I'm gonna hit next! Geeze! This is really not rocket science - common sense is all one needs.

Soon to be banned and/or severly limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281685)

"U.S. Expected to Seek Limits on Car Touchscreens"
http://www.insurancejournal.co... [insurancejournal.com]

and about time, i dont want to be in the car that idiot drivers hit, especially when their insurance company drops the coverage and leaves it to the lawyers.

Bad interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281717)

This is not intuitive at all. The great thing about the traditional UI is that you can in general figure out how to use it without extensive research. Each button and knob corresponds to one action and are labeled. With this UI, there's no way you can just pick it up and go. All the actions are hidden from the user.

Just strip down the car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46281833)

You don't need all that fancy shit.
You need to be able to get from a to b. You need heating for the winter and cooling for the summer.
That is it. No "entertainment systems" no dvd players.
A radio for emergency weather updates is nice.

You want something for you kids to do? Get them an ipad. That way it's not stuck in the car forever, where it will be obsolete long before you get rid of the car.
You want to watch a movie while driving? Get off the fucking road.

A matrix of 8 x 8 rectangular buttons... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46281861)

True story from a friend who worked in a airplane company. They were designing the UI for a helicopter. The first mock-up was by a bunch of nerdy engineers, who designed a matrix of 64 buttons, arranged in a 8 x 8 matrix, each with a word printed on it and lit from below. The called the test pilot. He took one look at it, then got up wordlessly and rummaged around the conference room till he found a some stiff card board (a three ring binder or a clip board). In all seriousness he said, "cut this cardboard to fit exactly on top of those buttons and paint it black and cover it completely" and walked out.

8 Controls? (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 6 months ago | (#46281879)

If a standard touch interface (like those shown at the beginning of the video) only had 8 controls, they'd be easy to use without looking as well. This is just another flashing interface that works great for a small number of controls but quickly degenerates into chaos when you try to control the number of systems and settings a REAL car interface has to deal with.

Argh, no! (2)

0101000001001010 (466440) | about 6 months ago | (#46281981)

A car UI should be usable without looking at it. That's why physical buttons and dials of different sizes and shapes with satisfying tactile feedback are the gold standard. Touchscreens should be limited to interaction while parked, such as setting up your sat nav.

Epic Fail. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#46282015)

Honestly this is a major fail waiting to happen. their examples all require you to look at it. Give me a UI that does not need any attention at all or better yet zero eye use.

Oh right, that's a volume KNOB. They work 800X better than even hardware buttons.

Want a decent Car UI? VOICE CONTROL. make it reliable and make it work. a single button on the steering wheel for me to hit, the stereo drops in volume by 80 db and I get a boop tone. I say what I want and it does it. Volume control are the other two buttons on the steering wheel with a 4th.... MUTE.

4 buttons and voice control with 100% voice feedback. THAT is a winning car UI, not some art project.

Solution looking for a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46282231)

We have joysticks, knobs, buttons, sliders, switches, touch and voice.

They're never as good in combinations of two-plus as they are alone.

On/Off, Temperature gradient, frequency equalizer, balance/fade; all better with physical controls. Why? To employ the same method used to memorize random facts. Simple location association.

Memorizing a sequence of button presses, knob twists, etc. is *doable*, but it's not *best*.

I've Developed a car UI using a MS Kinnect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46282233)

I've Developed a car UI using a MS Kinnect. When I raise my middle finger the horn sounds, Grabbing my crotch turns on the windscreen wipers and I can change the radio station by picking my nose. I changed the ass scratching seat warmer signal as it sometimes accidentally turned on the wipers. Of course any work of genius takes time to perfect.

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