In-car UI design is in a bad way, it kind of reminds me of the state of mobile phone UI in the couple of years preceding the iPhone. This led us to start thinking about a better approach.

Carswipes, eyes-free music navigation

I wont go over our thoughts on the state of user interface design in modern cars as Geoff Teehan pretty much covers it perfectly in his blog post The State of In-Car UX.

Volkswagen have just added to the messy mix with their new Golf R Touch, which seems to be more of a distraction to drivers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some “incidents” occur due to drivers with their eyes on screens rather than the road.

Here in the UK it is illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices (even when supervising a learner driver!), so it will be interesting to see how things develop in the future as car manufacturers seem to simply be adding more screens and touch tech into their cars just to out-do their competitors rather than actually provide something great for their customers. Will it be ok to drive at 70mph whilst flicking through tracks staring at your large screen centre console?

I’m ranting... 

The first product of these thoughts is a very simple app for eyes-free music navigation on your iPhone or iPod Touch. The trouble with using touch interface whilst trying to drive a car is an obvious one, you have to look at the screen to see the interface and know what buttons you are tapping.

Carswipes (yes we know what it sounds like) does away with the need to actually look at the screen to navigate the app, making it a much safer way to use a music app whilst driving.

Launching the app loads a music track, tap the phone to play, tap again to pause.
The artwork for that track is the main focus, with the artist name and track name clearly displayed in a large font, so if you wanted to look you could get the info you need within a VERY quick glance.
If you want to skip forward a track swipe the album artwork left, or right to go back a track. To go to the next album, simply swipe with two fingers.

That is it, this was a very quick development of our initial thoughts in the area of in-car UI. We have many more ideas and really hope to be able to develop a number of prototypes and concepts that can either demonstrate exciting new ideas or perhaps become products in their own right.

Now available on the App Store!