A GfK study into car drivers' experience with the human-machine interface (HMI), or 'infotainment' systems, highlights subtle differences in market demands in Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA
NUREMBERG, Germany, June 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Drivers in Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA all rank 'entering a place of interest (POI)' and 'finding a contact in the phone book' as difficult functions on their in-car system. But while these two come at the top of the difficulty scale in Germany and Italy, American drivers find that 'changing one destination to another destination' is just as difficult as 'entering a POI', and Japanese drivers say that 'understanding system commands' is the most difficult of all.
When it comes to which functions have greatest impact on the overall user experience (UX) score, the results also show deviation between countries. The fundamental area of 'understanding system commands' has - not surprisingly - a major influence on the overall usability rating across three of the four countries studied. It comes first in Japan and Italy and second in USA (where it is beaten to the top slot by 'understanding the icons used'). What is significant is that this high impact factor causes significant difficulty in Japan, while it is seen as only slightly difficult in Italy and the USA. By comparison, German drivers see 'entering a POI' as having by far the most impact on the overall UX score, followed by 'finding a contact in the phone book' - both of which functions are also rated as being particularly difficult in that country.
Wolfgang Waxenberger, Senior Director of User Experience at GfK, comments, "Testing and adjusting auto infotainment systems to each region, if not to each local market, is essential, especially for premium European auto brands wanting to score highly in markets like Japan. When we focus on functions that are not only proving difficult for drivers, but that are also having most impact on the overall usability rating, we face a different landscape in each market. OEMs wanting to sell into Japan need to create system commands and icons that are instantly intelligible to the local drivers, while those selling into Germany need to focus on how to make entering a POI and finding a contact in the phone book much more intuitive for the German way of thinking."
GfK's study benchmarks the leading OEM within each of the four markets covered, giving clear direction on what specific areas to focus on, to further improve their overall user experience within that market.
About the survey
GfK used its leading online panels to interview 3,776 drivers aged 18 and over, across four countries: Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA. The fieldwork was carried out in December 2013 and the data were weighted to be gender and age representative for car drivers with one or more cars in the household within the online population for each market.
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For further information: GfK, Wolfgang Waxenberger, Senior Director, User Experience, +49-40-696-669-162, Wolfgang.Waxenberger@gfk.com