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(MIT)   Could your car's font be killing you?   (web.mit.edu) divider line 58
    More: Scary, navigation systems, road traffic safety, cars, brightness  
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8656 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Oct 2012 at 4:22 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-06 02:31:14 PM
In recent tests, researchers with MIT's AgeLab have found that dashboard displays using the more open and differentiated lettering found in the "humanist" family of typefaces are easier for people to read quickly than displays using the more uniform and tightly spaced letters of the "square grotesque" style. Male drivers, in particular, can process messages in humanist lettering about 10 percent faster, on average.

So: comic sans dashboard font FTW.
 
2012-10-06 02:41:14 PM
If you're moving your lips while reading your dashboard, you have bigger problems than what typeface was used.
 
2012-10-06 02:45:50 PM

St_Francis_P: In recent tests, researchers with MIT's AgeLab have found that dashboard displays using the more open and differentiated lettering found in the "humanist" family of typefaces are easier for people to read quickly than displays using the more uniform and tightly spaced letters of the "square grotesque" style. Male drivers, in particular, can process messages in humanist lettering about 10 percent faster, on average.

So: comic sans dashboard font FTW.


God damn you. You beat me to it
 
2012-10-06 02:53:12 PM
Lucida sans console
 
2012-10-06 04:36:15 PM
Sorry, what am I looking for on my dashboard?

Speed? The position of the needle tells me what speed I am doing. The lettering and hash marks are for Speed Trap Areas only. The rough angle of the needle gives me all the info I need to know about my speed.

RPMs? Engine Noise tells me how many RPMs I have. The Tach is a nice backup, but I really don't use it when gauging shifts.

What other dashboard info do I need to read for safety? Rad Temp? Oil Temp?
 
2012-10-06 04:38:18 PM
Over in one.

/Comic Sans could save your life
 
2012-10-06 04:48:57 PM

tiiger:
RPMs? Engine Noise tells me how many RPMs I have. The Tach is a nice backup, but I really don't use it when gauging shifts.

What other dashboard info do I need to read for safety? Rad Temp? Oil Temp?


What's a shift? Is that when you use those little paddles on the steering wheel? I'm pretty sure those are just for stunt drivers and Italians.

And as far as the RPM, most of them should be 45, if you are up-to-date. Check your record to be sure though, some of the older ones are 33 1/3.
 
2012-10-06 05:01:11 PM
I don't even own a car. If I can't ride my bicycle to a particular destination, it's not worth the trip.
 
2012-10-06 05:03:13 PM
When driving, you shouldn't have to read anything but numbers on the dash and roadsigns.
 
2012-10-06 05:05:57 PM
So I guess that 16 segment is ok?

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-10-06 05:09:54 PM

DubyaHater: I don't even own a car. If I can't ride my bicycle to a particular destination, it's not worth the trip.


HIPSTER LIKE TYPING DETECTED
 
2012-10-06 05:19:13 PM
If it isn't the fonts themselves, then it's the wading through 12 levels of touchscreen menus to get to the heater controls that's going to kill you.

I'll stay with knobs, levers, toggle switches, and push buttons, thankyouverymuch.
 
2012-10-06 05:21:35 PM
The dashboard? That's the thing behind the steering wheel that gives displays information that I'm already aware of.
 
2012-10-06 06:23:25 PM

Fubegra: If it isn't the fonts themselves, then it's the wading through 12 levels of touchscreen menus to get to the heater controls that's going to kill you.

I'll stay with knobs, levers, toggle switches, and push buttons, thankyouverymuch.


Yep.

I've seen the all in one "wowweee" on board computer systems. I can't imagine, while driving, having to poke through a menu to do what a button or toggle does now.
 
2012-10-06 06:24:56 PM
It's not the font I'm worried about killing me, it's the idiots who think they need to read while driving.
 
2012-10-06 06:35:53 PM

thisone: I've seen the all in one "wowweee" on board computer systems. I can't imagine, while driving, having to poke through a menu to do what a button or toggle does now.


I hate cars with those, it takes 5 screens to turn the damn defroster on. Even worse are all the steering wheel buttons that are supposed to help but are unlabeled and in weird positions.

/In both cases I'm looking at you Chrysler
 
2012-10-06 06:48:26 PM
If it's BMW iDrive, and it's your first time trying to use it, then yes
 
2012-10-06 06:49:59 PM
I assumed the top one in the graphic was the one that was supposed to be easier to read. Nope.

But yeah, why the fark do they expect people to be reading while driving? Bring on the robotic cars so I don't have to worry about numbskulls processing Chaucer during rush hour.
 
2012-10-06 07:21:37 PM
look to foreign car manufacturers for the best laid out designs. Mrs.Kritters 2004 Scion xB has a simple small round display on the top middle of the dashboard. i had a Saab 900S with a wonderful lay out; things that you may look at or touch most often were up high, so your eyes barely strayed from the road.

it's sad that engineers (or their bosses) repeatedly overlook the K.I.S.S. principle: keep it simple, stupid.
 
2012-10-06 07:23:24 PM
pbs.twimg.com

No problem with that Eurostile(or similar) typeface there at all.

MIT should keep its hands off this kind of thing unless it wants to make a hippie-car.
 
2012-10-06 07:24:24 PM
So stop using electronic devices while you're driving. Needles work just fine for the gauges on the dashboard and you shouldn't be fiddling with the GPS or whatever else while you're moving anyway.
 
2012-10-06 07:26:34 PM

KrispyKritter: look to foreign car manufacturers for the best laid out designs. Mrs.Kritters 2004 Scion xB has a simple small round display on the top middle of the dashboard. i had a Saab 900S with a wonderful lay out; things that you may look at or touch most often were up high, so your eyes barely strayed from the road.

That's not a car, it's a glitzed up golfcart with no attempt to design for US audiences.


Foreign manufacturers is that they deliver less power(and less engine) per dollar than the US. That's not even a case of a well-laid-out (or better) design.

 
2012-10-06 07:26:55 PM
I like the MMI system on my A6. Very intuitive, enough real buttons, and no touch screen. I hate touch screens in cars.
 
2012-10-06 07:27:03 PM

tiiger: Sorry, what am I looking for on my dashboard?

Speed? The position of the needle tells me what speed I am doing. The lettering and hash marks are for Speed Trap Areas only. The rough angle of the needle gives me all the info I need to know about my speed.

RPMs? Engine Noise tells me how many RPMs I have. The Tach is a nice backup, but I really don't use it when gauging shifts.

What other dashboard info do I need to read for safety? Rad Temp? Oil Temp?


Strangely, my car comes standard with an automatic trans, but it still has a tach. If I don't have a clutch, why do I need it? It's nice, but my car is by no means meant for professionals.

I agree with the angle thing, I know what the general angle of the needle should be for certain roads, and the numbers are more for speed traps than anything. The coolant and fuel levels are the same thing, by the angle. If I had oil pressure, oil temp, battery charge level, etc., those too would be by angle, not hash marks or numbers.

'05 model, doesn't have touch screen anything, all knobs and push buttons that take less than a second to hit the right one without taking my eyes off the road. I'm too bad of a driver to risk hunting through menus.
 
2012-10-06 07:29:44 PM

BadReligion: I like the MMI system on my A6. Very intuitive, enough real buttons, and no touch screen. I hate touch screens in cars.


Now if they could design automatic transmissions that weren't designed to blow up at 90k.
 
2012-10-06 07:33:47 PM
Fonts on my dash? Huh? The only thing on my dash is a big, long LCD bar for the tach that spans the top edge and three HUGE LCD digits just below.

www.marklamond.co.uk

And it's positioned just below the top edge of the dash, just below your eyeline (if you're sitting correctly - meaning very low). I can watch for the shift light flash (the red over-rev marks flash when you reach 8500RPM) and speed readout using only my peripheral vision.

Honda knows what matters, and where to place it. Everything else is extraneous.
 
2012-10-06 07:37:44 PM
Years ago I used to work with a guy who had a 1984 Porsche (944 I think). He made new backgrounds for the speedometer and the tachometer. Printed on white paper. With a bubble-jet printer. With his name on them.

/less than csb
 
2012-10-06 07:47:32 PM

sethstorm: BadReligion: I like the MMI system on my A6. Very intuitive, enough real buttons, and no touch screen. I hate touch screens in cars.

Now if they could design automatic transmissions that weren't designed to blow up at 90k.


Mine has the same ZF 8 speed that is also in the new BMW's and Chryslers. The only thing about it Audi designed is the software.
 
2012-10-06 07:50:58 PM

Kuroshin: Fonts on my dash? Huh? The only thing on my dash is a big, long LCD bar for the tach that spans the top edge and three HUGE LCD digits just below.

[www.marklamond.co.uk image 708x532]

And it's positioned just below the top edge of the dash, just below your eyeline (if you're sitting correctly - meaning very low). I can watch for the shift light flash (the red over-rev marks flash when you reach 8500RPM) and speed readout using only my peripheral vision.

Honda knows what matters, and where to place it. Everything else is extraneous.


i291.photobucket.com

Hello, Michael
 
2012-10-06 08:11:48 PM

Thanks for the Meme-ries: Kuroshin: Fonts on my dash? Huh? The only thing on my dash is a big, long LCD bar for the tach that spans the top edge and three HUGE LCD digits just below.

[www.marklamond.co.uk image 708x532]

And it's positioned just below the top edge of the dash, just below your eyeline (if you're sitting correctly - meaning very low). I can watch for the shift light flash (the red over-rev marks flash when you reach 8500RPM) and speed readout using only my peripheral vision.

Honda knows what matters, and where to place it. Everything else is extraneous.

[i291.photobucket.com image 798x228]

Hello, Michael


Heh, totally. I hated the retro-'80s LCD dash at first. Eventually got used to it. The placement of the "gauges" is what stuck with me once I started tracking my car. I can't stand standard gauge placement on any other car now. Ferrari has it right as well. You never have to take your eyes off the road.
 
2012-10-06 08:12:01 PM

BadReligion: Mine has the same ZF 8 speed that is also in the new BMW's and Chryslers. The only thing about it Audi designed is the software.


Either way, good car design does not mean that components that are normally maintainable are ones that are not maintainable. If Audi was doing the right thing, they would find a manufacturer that doesn't produce sealed-component timebombs.

Even the worst of GM's transmission designs don't grenade the whole thing in an instant.
 
2012-10-06 08:16:14 PM
No. Funny thing is, when you drive every day you become a bit more familiar with your own dashboard layout than someone seeing it for the very first time.
 
2012-10-06 08:45:37 PM

sethstorm: BadReligion: Mine has the same ZF 8 speed that is also in the new BMW's and Chryslers. The only thing about it Audi designed is the software.

Either way, good car design does not mean that components that are normally maintainable are ones that are not maintainable. If Audi was doing the right thing, they would find a manufacturer that doesn't produce sealed-component timebombs.

Even the worst of GM's transmission designs don't grenade the whole thing in an instant.


Ehhhhhh, I'll just add something here...

Getrag is a major tranny manufacturer. Getrag makes some of the best transmissions on the planet, both for durability and sharp shifting accuracy. However, one of the worst transmissions on the planet is the box in a 5-speed Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4. That gearbox is made by Getrag. However, that box is designed by Mitsubishi Motors, and produced under contract.

Point is, the best manufacturer in the world doesn't matter when the client forces them to build a real stinker.
 
2012-10-06 09:17:44 PM
This is basic human factors usability and very old news. Good job reproving what people have known since the invention of letters. Easier-to-read fonts are easier to read. Wow.
 
2012-10-06 09:26:29 PM
Hell, how about just giving me a 110MPH speedometer instead of trying to cram a 140+MPH speedo into a vehicle that's going to struggle once into triple digits? Something like 20-30% of the marked spots on that dial are nothing but wishful thinking, forcing them to cram everything into a smaller space. I don't need to see that my Grand Cherokee maxed out at 115MPH with another 30 left to go on the dial, I want to be able to see the difference between 35 and 40MPH without having to squint.

Don't give me the ability to read information that will never be presented. Give me the information I actually need in an easy to read at a glance fashion.
 
2012-10-06 11:03:40 PM
RE: "be killing you"

No. That implies a process. The correct alarmist headline for the singular, conditional event you're referring to is "Could your car's font kill you?"
 
2012-10-06 11:16:18 PM

akula: Hell, how about just giving me a 110MPH speedometer instead of trying to cram a 140+MPH speedo into a vehicle that's going to struggle once into triple digits? Something like 20-30% of the marked spots on that dial are nothing but wishful thinking, forcing them to cram everything into a smaller space. I don't need to see that my Grand Cherokee maxed out at 115MPH with another 30 left to go on the dial, I want to be able to see the difference between 35 and 40MPH without having to squint.


See also, Honda Fit. A 115 mph speedometer would be all it needs, 140 is not gonna happen unless you're an enginebuilding wizard. There are definite limits on how much you can boost an L15A7 before you start bending connecting rods. At least the speedometer is big enough that the excess range isn't really a problem.

/my Fit is bone stock, and will stay that way
 
2012-10-06 11:20:22 PM

Juansmith: RE: "be killing you"

No. That implies a process. The correct alarmist headline for the singular, conditional event you're referring to is "Could your car's font kill you?"


Excellent point. I can think of only one case where a vehicle's instruments would "be killing you."
 
2012-10-06 11:26:32 PM

akula: Hell, how about just giving me a 110MPH speedometer instead of trying to cram a 140+MPH speedo into a vehicle that's going to struggle once into triple digits? Something like 20-30% of the marked spots on that dial are nothing but wishful thinking, forcing them to cram everything into a smaller space. I don't need to see that my Grand Cherokee maxed out at 115MPH with another 30 left to go on the dial, I want to be able to see the difference between 35 and 40MPH without having to squint.

Don't give me the ability to read information that will never be presented. Give me the information I actually need in an easy to read at a glance fashion.


My car is speed governed to 100mph. The speedometer goes to 130mph. Even getting to 100mph is a challenge, since it is a POS Saturn. Heck, it took me over 10 years of owning the car to even notice it was limited to 100mph.
 
2012-10-07 12:09:28 AM
Could your car's font be killing you?

Next on....

imageshack.us
 
2012-10-07 12:20:58 AM

Fubegra: If it isn't the fonts themselves, then it's the wading through 12 levels of touchscreen menus to get to the heater controls that's going to kill you.

I'll stay with knobs, levers, toggle switches, and push buttons, thankyouverymuch.


This.

If texting and messing with a gps while driving is illegal, how is it ok to use touchscreen controls?
 
2012-10-07 12:27:51 AM
There's gutter be arial kernel of truth in this. Glad to hear they'll glyph it a try.
 
2012-10-07 01:18:49 AM

sethstorm: BadReligion: I like the MMI system on my A6. Very intuitive, enough real buttons, and no touch screen. I hate touch screens in cars.

Now if they could design automatic transmissions that weren't designed to blow up at 90k.


I have a 2002 Mitsubishi about to turn 200k. The tranny doesn't even hesitate. It's amazing what happens when you actually perform the recommended routine maintenance.
 
2012-10-07 01:43:52 AM
I like the Mini Cooper's dashboard. The speedometer is almost as big as the steering wheel. Wheee.
 
2012-10-07 02:16:45 AM

Tom_Slick: /In both cases I'm looking at you Chrysler


Really? My steering wheel buttons controls the radio, everything is clearly marked on my Chrysler 200.
No problems, whatchu talkin bout, Willis?
 
2012-10-07 03:53:11 AM

red5ish: I like the Mini Cooper's dashboard. The speedometer is almost as big as the steering wheel. Wheee.


but it's in the middle, so the driver doesn't use it. The speed is displayed digitally on the driver's dash.

/mini driver
//has lots of cool toggle switches
///and mood lighting
 
2012-10-07 04:51:40 AM
When a deer runs out in front of my car or some drunk is wobbling into my lane, the dashboard is about the last thing I look at.
 
2012-10-07 10:28:14 AM
The Humanist Font. Typefaces, for people.
 
2012-10-07 01:08:52 PM

Kuroshin: Fonts on my dash? Huh? The only thing on my dash is a big, long LCD bar for the tach that spans the top edge and three HUGE LCD digits just below.

[www.marklamond.co.uk image 708x532]


Want.
 
2012-10-07 01:45:10 PM

akula: Hell, how about just giving me a 110MPH speedometer instead of trying to cram a 140+MPH speedo into a vehicle that's going to struggle once into triple digits? Something like 20-30% of the marked spots on that dial are nothing but wishful thinking, forcing them to cram everything into a smaller space. I don't need to see that my Grand Cherokee maxed out at 115MPH with another 30 left to go on the dial, I want to be able to see the difference between 35 and 40MPH without having to squint.

Don't give me the ability to read information that will never be presented. Give me the information I actually need in an easy to read at a glance fashion.


I'm gonna "This" this. The usual excuse is "common parts bins" for basic gauges, dials and switches. However, 140mph is well beyond the capabilities of 99% of production vehicles. Lower the scope and increase the granularity of mid-market gauges. The super-snazzy high-end sports cars tend to have their own custom gauges anyway.


ArcadianRefugee: Kuroshin: Fonts on my dash? Huh? The only thing on my dash is a big, long LCD bar for the tach that spans the top edge and three HUGE LCD digits just below.

[www.marklamond.co.uk image 708x532]


Want.


Pick one up. They're cheap these days. Can get an S2000 in good condition for under $12k. The engines are bullet-proof and the transmissions are so overbuilt that nobody other than racers are likely to have done any damage. I put 50k miles on mine in a single year of track-day-style driving, and it didn't miss a beat. I even tore down the engine just to make sure nothing was amiss, and the thing looked brand new. Piston rings were still dead-center of OEM spec, rod bearings had no "wipe", and even the tappets for the valves didn't *need* any adjustment, although I did tighten them up a bit closer to the narrow-end of spec.

I've heard of racers blowing up their brakes when running dozens of laps in desert heat, and I've even over-stressed my differential to the point where I really should replace it, but an average driver isn't going to come anywhere close to those limits. One thing to watch out for though is that earlier models (2000-2003) are more tail-happy than a 911. You've gotta know how to drive if you want to avoid wrapping it around a tree. Later models (2004-2010) are toned down quite a bit. My wife's 2007 is much easier to drive and much more comfortable than my 2001, but mine is faster in both a straight line and around a track. Seats are better in the earlier models as well.

Of course, "fast" is a relative term. Both put down just over 200hp at the wheels, but that's *peak*. 0-60 is under 5s, but 1/4-mile is in the low 13s. They just simply aren't speed demons. What they are, is a track monster. Nothing in their price category handles like them. I had a chance to drive an F458 recently, and they are identical in handling, control and feedback. So if you want $250k supercar handling on a shoestring budget, you can't beat an S2k.
 
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