[Project] Dynamic Haptic Control. Automotive (Tangible) UI/UX Research

In this research, the focus was on A/B comparison of two automotive interfaces. One novel interface and common graphical user interface centred in the middle of the dashboard of a modern car. If interested, please look in the method section of the paper for the motivation behind the chosen methodologies. Download the full paper here: vdStar – exploring a novel automotive infotainment user interface(a)



It is evident that a GUI is a versatile and helpful tool integrated by a vast group of cars. In many cases, the embedded touchscreen for an infotainment system in the middle of a car interior brings convenience, but it can also confuse or distract the driver. Automotive UIs operated by the driver must demand minimal user attention, and especially eyes-free interaction should be supported.[1] The tangible aspect of a physical knob from low to high can easily be adjusted without too much cognitive and visual attention, especially when there is a haptic feedback that confirms the interaction while driving. These tangible aspects of the dashboard resulted in automated-action-patterns that without a high cognitive effort and eye-hand coordination could be operated. With a touchscreen, this tangible aspect has been eliminated and ignored. If the driver wants to see if the intention of the action is successful, then there are two ways; first, the functional feedback and second a visual validation of the action e.g., when someone is playing a song and the song has a long progressive intro such that the functional feedback doesn’t appear directly. As a result, the driver has to visually validate that the interaction was successful by the use of an icon on the GUI. If there was still a tangible aspect, the driver could have been with a higher confidence be sure that the given input was recognised by the system which could result in a less eye-hand coordination operation. It is clear that the use of the visual channel while driving a car is the most important property. Research showed that drivers have significant less eye-on-the-road time during the interaction with an in-vehicle system with high visual demands and this directly affects driving performances[2] This research explored a novel interface with two haptic feedback touchpad in order to combine the valuable tangible aspects from older car UIs with newer technologies.


1. Colley, A., Vyrynen, J., Hkkil, J. (2015). In-Car Touch Screen Interaction. Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Pervasive Displays – PerDis 15.

2. H, K. M., Jger, M. G., Skov, M. B., Thomassen, N. G. (2008). You can touch, but you can’t look. Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual CHI
conference on Human factors in computing systems – CHI 08.



Figure [1] shows a participant during a user test.



Figure [2] showcases explorations of the GUI functions.


Figure [3] showcases icons used in the GUI.


Figure [4] showcases the circuit diagram of the apparatus of this research.



Figure [5] showcases the two interfaces that were employed in this research.