Ford Turns to Design and Data Visualization to Boost Sales
Ford sales are suffering. In an attempt to improve, they're going green with hybrid vehicles, and in doing so, had to shift their design. In their initial studies with IDEO, the Palo Alto-based design group, they found that drivers who were interested in fuel efficiency were "playing a game." Getting more miles to the gallon was like earning points. With that in mind, Ford worked with Smart Design to create a high-resolution LCD dashboard to show drivers how efficiently they drive.
In order to play into the research finding that drivers are looking for a high score when it comes to fuel efficiency, one high-resolution LCD screen on the dash features an eye-catching rendering of curling vines blooming with green leaves. It's more than a decorative element; it's a data-visualization tool intended to change the way people drive. If a driver wastes gas by aggressively accelerating or slamming on the brakes, for example, the vine withers and leaves disappear. More leaves appear if individuals drive more economically. The system will be standard on all new Fusion Hybrids, which will start at about $27,000.
There's still another 6 months until we see the results of this design shift, but what do you think of this futuristic-looking dashboard?
[via BusinessWeek | Thanks, Alastair]