Car design trends, part 2

form-v-functionThis “center stack” of dashboard controls looks pretty cool. It’s from a Volvo. (I can tell by the typeface.)

Design mistake? When you’re driving down the road at 75 miles an hour (120 kph), the last thing you want to do is take your eyes off the road long enough to figure out which button you need to push to make the hot air go to your feet rather than at your face.

Takeaway? When you’re designing that thing — or planning that speech — go for what will serve the user best rather than what causes the biggest wow. (But be sure to leave enough wow in to make it exciting!)

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6 Replies to “Car design trends, part 2”

  1. I think it’s rather endearing that you can recognize a Volvo by their font choices! And how right you are; there’s plenty of room for creativity and artistic expression without pursuing them at the expense of functionality.

  2. Hey…it’s a Volvo. They build in crash safety & airbags too many to number to account for the inadvertent button-pushing crises that are likely to happen as a result of their stereo design. 😉

    Plus, it’s likely that they’ve got volume +/- and pre-set channel selectors integrated into their steering wheel. So you can keep both hands on the wheel (or maybe one hand while you’ve got the other one dialing your cell-phone). Love those Swedes!

    1. Love it Dave! And Marti — I’m just used to speaking the visual language of typefaces. It’s like breathing.

      Rachel totally notices details like that too.

  3. The Nissan Murano that Dad and Jan bought in December has a screen and buttons and toggles and the Bose cd/cassette deck in that position. The rearview camera uses the screen, and is automatic, but the rest of the features are very complex to learn. The heater/ac controls are just below it, as are other features. Definitely requires a copilot or a rest stop.

  4. Learned to drive in a ’72 Volvo 144 (that you rode in, I believe) I remember thinking even then that the center stack reminded me somewhat of a helicopter — and that was without almost anything electronical!

    1. And we even owned a Volvo once. Unfortunately, our Volvo mechanic said that was the only model he would never have recommended anyone buy.

      It died in the desert, but that’s another story.

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