Car Dashboard Typeface Usability

Nifty research (PDF) from MIT’s AgeLab:

This paper reports on the results of a project examining 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). (…) Across the two studies, among men, a “humanist” typeface resulted in a 10.6% lower visual demand as measured by total glance time as compared to the “square grotesque” typeface. Total response time and number of glances required to complete a response showed similar patterns. Interestingly, the impact of different typeface style was either more modest or not apparent for women on these variables. Error rates for both males and females were 3.1% less for the humanist typeface.

If you require a short url to link to this article, please use


If you liked this, you'll love my book. It's called Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web. In it, I cover the whole design process, from user research and sketching to usability tests and A/B testing. But I don't just explain techniques, I also talk about concepts like discoverability, when and how to use animations, what we can learn from video games, and much more.

You can find out more about it (and order it directly, printed or as a DRM-free ebook) on the Pragmatic Programmers website. It's been translated to Chinese and Japanese.