SatNav Design and Usability
Date: Thursday, March 08 @ 12:22:27 UTC
Recent murmerings by Senior Police officers that Satnav's may be the next focus of legislative attention got me thinking about the whole form and function issue. GPS has been around long enough now for their designs and interface to benefit from some serious consideration. PND's ought to have been designed with safety and usability paramount yet the vast majority are still little more than slightly tweaked PDA units with little given to how they are actually used in real life!
Simple things like the power socket located on the bottom of a device. The resulting power cable prevents you from locating the unit such that it rests on the dashboard. Why not place it on the side or rear or use a low profile right angled plug? Or Power LED's that cannot be seen from the front so you don't actually realise it wasn't charging until the battery expires! Power switches that are similarly placed with tiny little buttons that you can't locate! Oh and a reset switch that is so small you need a pin, of course we all keep them in our cars don't we!
The user interfaces are another area that appear to be given little thought in many cases. I have recently been testing a unit that has a large screen, great though that is, why do they have to have all the time to destination, distance and speed information in text so small that it cannot be easily and quickly read? And still we see devices launched with tiny speakers that cannot be clearly heard when driving!
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