Color-Coding Your Fuel Efficiency

With a new emphasis on fuel efficiency in consumer cars comes a new design challenge: how to communicate feedback to the driver. Most feedback in cars is either numeric (speedometer), analog (engine heat), or visceral (feeling and hearing the engine). So, if the driving style affects fuel efficiency, which of these is the best way to supply that information to the driver? The Prius has always gone for numeric, displaying instantaneous gas mileage and discrete units of energy recovered from braking. But Honda has decided to add color-coded feedback - which I might call visceral (even though it's visual) because it's ambient. Drivers will be conditioned to feel like they want to the display shown in the image to stay green - not blue-green or blue, which indicate less efficient driving. It's one thing to let a number creep a little higher, but it's a whole different feeling to have a color change to rebuke your driving! I wouldn't be surprised if this technique turns out to be impressively effective. It could be great proof that efficiency can be accomplished by feats of usable psychology in product design...
[via AutoBlog, Engadget, & Gizmodo]

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