Aaron Marcus, John Armitage, Volker Frank, and Edward Guttman Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc. (AM+A), 1144 65th Street, Suite F, Emeryville, CA 94608-1053 USA;Tel: 510-601-0994x19, Fax: 510-547-6125 Email: Aaron@AmandA.com, Web: http://www.AMandA.Com
Vehicles with computers, global positioning satellite (GPS) systems, and Internet access can provide drivers and passengers with information about their location, trips, and sites of interest. This paper discusses lessons learned from an early ( 1989-92) project in user-interface and information-visualization design (UI+IVD) that solved constraints relevant to today's consumer devices with "baby faces" ( Marcus 1998). They must provide easy access to functions and data that are easy for users to comprehend, remember, and use. High-quality UI design improves the likelihood users will be more productive and satisfied.
During 1988-94, Motorola developed an intelligent-vehicle navigation system as part of the Advanced Driver and Vehicle Advisory Navigation Concept (ADVANCE) project ( Tucker 1994, Marcus 1999). The authors' firm (AM+A) designed precise, interactive prototypes with detailed interaction and appearance, based on requirements documents prepared by other development team members. These prototypes enabled the development team to eliminate major errors in metaphors, mental models, and navigation and to show management, selected key customers, and prospective users in focus groups, even in testing sessions, in order to gain buy-in and gather information.
The hardware display used a Sharp five-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) with touch-screen surface. At the time, the LCD was state-of-the-art and exceeded the visual quality of current commercial navigation displays. Nevertheless, the display had significant limitations: 16 colors, limited font design, low resolution (one- quarter of SVGA, or 320 x 240 pixels). In addition, the non-square pixels appeared in a staggered brick pattern, not in a right-angled row-and-column layout, which meant horizontal and vertical one-pixel lines differed in width.