In my days at TomTom we were keen to innovate and bring new experiences to in-car navigation. However, preventing driver distraction was always first and foremost in our minds, carefully crafting the location and appearance of key information so that it was easily understandable at a glance.
To this end, other factors such as the physical surfaces of the TomTom device itself were also very much considered. If the plastic used in the screen was too reflective then it would act almost like a mirror on a sunny day. The driver might see an echo of their own frustrated face rather than the navigation instructions. The use of matt surfaces also meant that direct sunlight should not bounce off the device and into the eye of the driver. I wish the guys at Renault had thought of that when putting together their latest Clio.
To my horror, strong sunshine from behind my rented Clio reflected off the chrome speedometer surround, temporarily blinding me in the process. I had to take my hand away from the wheel and place it in front of the shining surround in order to prevent this hazardous distraction.
The chrome sure looks nice but a more sensible approach would have been to, for example, use a mesh effect on the surround in order to disperse the light. Other than this life threatening UX fail, the little Clio was a delight. OK that might be an overly dramatic statement but safety should come first.
I'm Frank Gaine. Strategist, Designer, Manager, Founder, Educator.