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5. Car PC Interface Options > 5.1. Hacks 55–61: Introduction

Hacks 55–61: Introduction

Human/computer interface design is especially important in an automotive environment. Traditional control systems such as computer mice and keyboards tend to be awkward for passengers and too dangerous for the driver to use. To make the use of an in-car computer safe and convenient for everyone, it is necessary to rethink not only the input hardware but also the computer’s GUI itself. Menu-based graphical user interfaces are difficult for passengers to use and almost impossible for a driver to safely navigate, so alternatives must be found.

The car radio is a good example of an established and relatively safe to use in-car user interface. Users can select the next or prior station by turning a dial left and right or pressing a button up and down. A number of preset stations can be assigned to half a dozen buttons. The media-du-jour, be it eight-track, cassette, MiniDisk, CD, or DVD, can be shoved into a slot and will start playing automatically. Volume is usually controlled via a big, obvious dial or pair of buttons. This basic method of selecting and controlling audio entertainment has remained the same for many years.


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