New cars are coming with more screen real estate than ever before. Alongside head-up and cluster displays, large central and passenger displays are trending.
Designing effective in-car user interfaces isn’t simply a case of displaying as much information as possible and making it look as attractive as possible. Drivers want detailed information about their journey and vehicle. However, providing them with too much information will result in cognitive overload. In the worst case, they will become distracted from the road.
According to Drew Meehan, TomTom Principal UX Interaction Designer, it’s all about balance — less can quite often be more.
Finding balance in information overload
The key is to achieve an informational balance so that cognitive overload is allayed by providing drivers with an interface built around “action plus overview”. When this is achieved, information displayed on each screen should complement the next and cascade naturally. This provides drivers with enough information in the cluster to inform action, but also displays a broader overview of the journey in the central display to reassure the driver, Meehan says.