5. Error Prevention
Good error messages are important, but the best designs carefully prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Either eliminate error-prone conditions or check for them and present users with a confirmation option before they commit to the action.
I’ll focus on MINI’s lane collision warning package. This is another set that requires some reading up on the subject. Again, this goes back to the confusing/vague iconography… there are about 4 specific visuals that will appear to either let you know something good or bad related to the cars around you.
Clear to change lanes: small green icon
Not cleared: no visual at all (and therein lies the problem)
Getting too close to someone in front of you: large red icon
Getting WAY too close to someone in front of you: same red icon, just with sound
So here are my concerns with the lane departure setup. For one, anything involving another car means potential for crashes. You need to be so concise with your communications here for obvious, crucial reasons. The default scenario, ideally, is that there is no danger. Therefore, there should either be one of two setups (assuming no accessibility impairments):
a. No alerts for when the driver is clear to change lanes, red iconography with a “danger” sound for when the turn signal is active and the driver is not clear to change lanes
b. Concise alert and accompanying sound for both scenarios as to be explicit when good is good and when bad is bad
Second, for the proximity alerts, again, my concern is consistency in the messaging. If there’s an added sound effect that’s more of a delayed and secondary message to indicate the difference between being kind of close behind someone and WAY TOO CLOSE, I’m gonna need some visuals of the same severity to get that message across. What if I’m deaf? How would I know the difference between a casual and serious concern? I’d want to see these visuals and sounds be more explicit and consistent, regardless if it had autopilot or not.
6. Recognition Rather than Recall
Minimize the user’s memory load by making elements, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the interface to another. Information required to use the design (e.g. field labels or menu items) should be visible or easily retrievable when needed.
Let’s focus on MINI’s gorgeous 8-inch touchscreen display. The digital information architecture, or how the content is structured, makes total logical sense. Not only is it accessible by touch, but there’s an additional haptic scroll wheel and buttons at arm’s level if you’d rather access the content that way. This is an area MINI did an exceptional job in. Drivers need haptic feedback, our love language is physical touch. So, being able to rely on that physical interaction with all the controls in the digital environment paired with a menu that makes sense is just *a chef’s kiss*.
7. Flexibility and Efficiency of Use
Shortcuts — hidden from novice users — may speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the design can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.
My instant thought here is the auto-manual driving experience with the paddle shifters. That’s just pure fun right there, but also totally inviting to the “just get me from Point A to Point B” drivers as well.