Designing for touchpads in cars

Use of touch technology is increasingly used in handheld devices such as tele- phones and portable media players. Touch technology will also likely be a part of integrated in-vehicle solutions where more degrees of freedom are needed than traditional interfaces provide.

However, there is considerable evidence that complex In-Vehicle Infotain- ment Systems (IVIS) with complex interactivity such as web browsing can dis- tract the driver. These systems will require new interaction methods between the driver and the system. Such methods should allow tasks to be performed us- ing quick bursts of simple actions – without distracting the driver – yet powerful enough to handle multitasking, panning, zooming and other possible interface procedures.

We report on the development and evaluation of a multi-touch controlled in-vehicle infotainment system that allows for unrestricted Internet use, with features that makes it adaptable to future applications.

In a simulator study and in a real driving test we assess its suitability for interacting with a menu based on-board system. The system utilises multi- touch gestures to enable direct access to actions such as scrolling, zooming and panning to provide an efficient and user-friendly interface.

In summary the results show that a rich multi-touch controlled interface can be developed that users accept and like, regardless of previous personal pref- erence of touchpad usage. In addition the results indicate that a production ready touchpad controlled IVIS-system should be built with a bi-modal feed- back system, either visual-audio or visual-haptic to facilitate necessary driver control with regard to road safety.

Keywords: HMI (Human Machine Interaction), Touchpad, IVIS (In Vehicle Infotainment Systems), automotive, interface design, multi-touch, gestures, us- ability, multi-modal