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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-063
Date: September 2004

In-Vehicle Display Icons and Other Information Elements: Volume II

Final Report

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CHAPTER 3: CONCLUSIONS

As noted above, the overall goal of the project has been to provide the designers of in-vehicle technologies with a set of design guidelines for in-vehicle display icons and other information elements. The final design guidelines provided in task F have clearly achieved this goal. These clear, relevant, and easy-to-use guidelines provide up-to-date information on a number of topics critical to icon development and evaluation.

Much of the impetus behind the initial conceptualization of this project can be summed up by going back to two of the conclusions from the final task A report:

  • "The lack of guidelines and standards for icons has resulted in design by consensus, a lack of scientific rigor in icon development, and multiple icons for the same messages."
  • "Existing literature and standards provide little guidance for the design of new icons for IVIS devices.

In short, the transportation system design community-and, indeed, the larger electronics/computer industry-has not had the benefit of a single information source that provided clear, relevant, and useful guidance for icon design. The final task F guidelines produced in this project therefore fill a critical gap in the transportation human factors literature.

In addition, the Icon IDEA software tool developed in this project has provided a real-time icon development and evaluation tool that, to date, is receiving consistently positive reviews from the project's working group members. This tool is entirely functional and ready to use, and should prove an invaluable aid and resource for icon design.

Moreover, the technical reports, conference papers, and conference presentations developed during this project provide a permanent record on a number of substantive issues related to icon design, yet perhaps not incorporated into either the final design guidelines or the IDEA software tool. Appendix B summarizes these products.

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