This blog isn’t about embedded consoles, but it is about understanding information on screens, and the development of a new, screen-friendly typeface is worth a link.
Two years ago, the MIT AgeLab and Monotype began to study whether more legible typefaces could make a difference in in-car media. For men, at least, the answer has been yes. In driving simulations run by the lab, male drivers took their eyes off the road for less time when the text on a small navigation screen appeared in a typeface from what’s known as the humanist genre. The difference between humanist and grotesque typefaces amounted to the equivalent of turning away from the road over a distance of 50 feet at highway speeds.
"That took what we know intuitively as type designers and actually put some scientific backbone on it," says Steve Matteson, a creative type director at Monotype who worked on the original study.
Since then, Monotype has been working on a new typeface, called Burlingame, which it’s releasing this week as the first designed specifically with distracted driving in mind. It’s meant for use by auto manufacturers in in-car displays, or in the myriad devices we bring with us whenever we enter a car[.]
“It’s not like we’ve invented a new way to organize information,” admits Matias Duarte, UX director for Android. “We’ve actually tapped into one of the oldest pieces of graphic and information design around—business cards, calling cards, greeting cards, playing cards. They all have the same embodiments because they’re all reflections of a similar set of design problems.”