Our Insight List is designed to keep us on our toes and you in the loop, on a regular basis. Our
Quarterly Insights is sent to our clients and friends four times a year. Our Show Insights provide
in-depth reports from the major International Auto Shows.
Why don’t we have dedicated driver’s seats?
Isn’t it odd how the driver’s seat in every car is not designed specifically for a driver? How all drivers’ seats are exactly the same as the (often very well designed) front passenger’s seat, yet the driver drives whilst the passenger doesn’t…
We postulate that, in such a mature product as the car, the focus of new product development has to be at the creative leading edge and assume that it steps off a robust basis of well established good practice. But maybe there ought to be more energy devoted to ‘cleansheeting’ and to question what has gone before. Maybe the driver’s seat should be reconsidered? Maybe other aspects of car design should be too?
Screens have resulted in much simpler yet more premium interior designs that tend to do away with many physical buttons and switches. The impact on the user experience and ergonomics has been variable – to say the least – but a secondary trend impact of this development is the horizontal button island. Buttons used to be everywhere in the car interior, but now the few buttons left are becoming a design feature. Clearly demarcated in an 'island' zone, these typically high-quality buttons remain to control key, safety-critical functions such as screen demist and the hazard warning lights.
While cruising comfortably on Europe's well-maintained motorways, it's easy to sit back and dismiss America's fascination with SUVs as a product of the stereotypical "everything's bigger" mentality. However, on a recent holiday in America I was struck by the state of US roads and the relation to the cars Americans choose.