Since the invention of the double-edged sword, technology has always been a double-edged weapon. Despite all the wonderful things that technology has brought about, such as the global web, there is always a small chance that artificial intelligence may eventually take over and wipe out humans.
However, now I want to talk about digital dashboards, which are a little less dangerous piece of technology. Innumerable automobiles have replaced their conventional analog dials with digital screens throughout the last ten years.
These are generally very helpful, offering more functionality and allowing you to personalize what you see. However, lately, they have grown problematic as it seems that the designers have forgotten what the instrument panel is meant to be used for.
I have driven several cars this year that feature digital dashboards with, to put it bluntly, almost unreadable digital screens. graphic overload, giving the impression that the designers were merely attempting to cram as many colors, shapes, and figures as they could onto the screen without considering the display’s intended use.
The purpose of the exercise is to provide vital information to you, the driver, such as your speed and the number of revolutions the engine is making at any one time. But these days, all too frequently.
The Kia EV6 GT is another contemporary illustration of this form-over-function paradox.
It looks as though it moves in very little steps, making it impossible. Fortunately, there’s a digital speedometer so you can see how quickly you’re moving, although the display is needlessly visually cluttered.
Because that’s how instruments have appeared for almost a century, our minds are wired to expect a speedo needle or rev counter to ascend from left to right and move in a circle. We must now become accustomed to lines that move in any direction, oscillate, pulse, or do anything else a graphic designer can think of on their computer screen, apparently never considering how it will function in a moving car.
The truth is that, although I am approaching forty these days, I was raised in the era of computer games, so it’s not as though I dislike digital visuals or can’t read while on the go. But rather than trying to impress their colleagues with the most intricate dashboard display they can come up with, I think these dash designers should be more concerned with providing the end user with clear and concise information.
My head is still processing what I saw when I drove the Mercedes-AMG C43, which debuted earlier this year.
The ability to switch between several instrument displays based on the driving mode is neat.
It’s kind of strange to look at, but in one of the sportier displays, the revs and speed indication images seem to move towards you as you accelerate. It appears that the designers are more visual specialists than automotive experts, riding the train to work instead of understanding what the owners will need.
The Kia EV6 GT is another contemporary example of this form-over-function conundrum; like Mercedes, it’s becoming more and more frequent. Its displays also seem to move away from you and at an angle, making it practically impossible to determine the difference in speed at a look.