The State of In-Dash Interface Design

CNET has assembled a gallery of interface shots from various in-car navigation and media systems, commenting on the strengths and failures of various designs. I'm shocked by the preponderance of blue and grey.
GM's interface is nicely done, with a good, deep color and a convenient tabbed design for easy access to different functions. But we think GM could have better brand differentiation, as we've seen this same interface on everything from a Cadillac Escalade to a Suzuki XL7 (built for Suzuki by GM).
Photos: Automotive interface design []
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4 Responses to The State of In-Dash Interface Design

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you look carefully at the photo, notice the part that isn’t the screen; the edges with the controls. Does this not look like craptastic from the 1970s?

    Just why do people buy cars with controls like this?

  2. Halloween Jack says:

    It’s funny to read Cnet’s car reviews–they basically review the car on the basis of the stock stereo.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Are CNET’s tech reviews as bad as this now? They used to do such good analysis – all I see here is “oooh pretty”, “eww, icky”. The entire design world is sadly devoid of User Interface expertise. I see it every day at work, and in products at the stores. Where are all the UI Engineers? Because industrial designers, mechanical engineers, many electrical engineers, and product artists don’t have a freaking clue when it comes to usability.

  4. Bloo says:

    The preponderance of blue and grey may have something to do with using these things at night and/or with sunglasses on.

    I don’t have a fancy in-dash stereo, but on my Pontiac Vibe (manufactured for GM by Toyota, it’s basically a Matrix) the radio/CD has a red graphic LED display. I could not read the display with my previous set of sunglasses, that had a coating which blocked a lot of red.

    I do wonder if they actually do usability testing for car interiors – it would be a good idea. The best would be to force the design engineers to drive around in that design for a month or two of regular day-to-day stuff. “Eating your own dog food” has incredible design-improvement powers.

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