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You are here: Home / Conferences / Hong Kong 2012 / Programme / 11–14 October – General programme

Evaluating fonts legibility in automotive environment

When Sat 13 Oct 0950
Where Hotel Icon
What Presentations
Who Vladimir Levantovsky

Cars are becoming extensions of our digital lifestyle, with information and entertainment increasingly available through in-vehicle displays. At the same time, the auto industry and traffic safety associations are sharpening their focus on reducing distraction risks. Can typeface design make a difference in minimizing glance times while maximizing the time that drivers’ eyes stay on the road? Monotype Imaging has partnered with the MIT AgeLab to study the impact of typeface design on driver demand.

This presentation reports on the preliminary results of an exploratory study of the impact of typeface design on glance behavior away from the roadway when a driver interacts with a multi-line menu display designed to model a text rich automotive human machine interface (HMI). Data from two separate experiments, each involving over 40 participants ranging from 36 to 74 years of age was collected in a real-time driving simulation in which participants were asked to respond to a series of address, restaurant identification and content search menus that were implemented using two different typeface designs. The results were collected and analyzed using eye tracking equipment and video recordings. Among participants, a Square Grotesque typeface resulted in a noticeable increase in visual demand as compared to the Humanist typeface. Total glance time and number of glances required to complete a response showed consistent results. This research suggests that optimizing typeface characteristics used in HMI may be viewed as a “no cost” method of providing a significant reduction in interface demand and associated distractions. Future work will need to assess if other font characteristics and font rendering technology can be tuned to provide further reductions in demand.

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