Title: Development of easy-to-understand vehicle malfunction warnings

Authors: P. Green

Addresses: Associate Research Scientist, Human Factors Division, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2150, USA

Abstract: This paper describes the research conducted as part of the development of a driver interface for warning drivers about low oil pressure, worn tyres, etc. In the first experiment, 27 drivers were asked questions that examined their knowledge of components that might fail (e.g. |What is an alternator for?|). For about half of the items, their knowledge was inadequate. In a second experiment, 60 drivers selected the words they preferred for nine prototypical warnings from columns of choices (e.g. should the brake fluid warning use the word |add,| |low,| |refill,| or something else). This new method allowed a large set of messages to be rapidly produced from a limited data set. Drivers preferred command messages (what to do) over error messages (what was wrong). In the third experiment, 20 drivers responded to 15 candidate messages. While most messages were well understood, this experiment identified a few problems with specific warnings and the vehicle mimic.

Keywords: driver interface design; ergonomics; human factors engineering; vehicle monitoring; vehicle malfunction warnings; low oil pressure; worn tyres; command messages; error messages; hazard warning; vehicle safety; vehicle design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.1996.061976

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 1996 Vol.17 No.1, pp.27 - 39

Published online: 28 May 2014 *

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