Kee: to safer driving

Posted on July 12, 2010


Designer: Andrew Williams, Ben Howard, Brian Mason, Gary Domke, George Ressler

Watch this video to understand what Kee is all about.

Or just read the summary:
Kee is an in-car stereo system that attempts to minimize motor accidents by using a forcing function: The car will not start unless the phone is in the dock. While in the dock (safe mode), the phone is limited to performing basic functions, such as playing music, GPS etc.

The concept of using a forcing function in design is not a bad one, but might not always be applicable in all situations. It seems that this concept has not been resolved well, in terms of aesthetics and processes.

After reviewing the Kee concept, this is what we think:

1) ‘Perceptible information’, in which the design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, is one of the principles of universal design. In Kee, there is absolutely no perceptible information, not even simple graphics. Which button do I press?

2) This design seems to be central to the assumption that everyone who drives will be carrying a phone. What happens if a driver does not have a phone, or carries two phones into the car?

3) On top of that, is the iPhone dock supposed to be representative of a universal phone dock? What happens to all the other non-iPhone users?

4) Is there a way to filter casual calls/texts from the real emergencies?

– Rethink the way that you would approach this project.
– When you come up with a possible solution, always ask yourself “What if?”.
– Mapping out buttons and user interface is not a simple task (people have written a whole thesis on this subject). If you are attempting to do that, you should have a very very logical reasoning in your design. Ask yourself, “Why is this button here and not there? Would it be more logical to have it here instead?”.
– Question your design choices. “Do I need to be able to differentiate between the buttons when I’m not looking?”. These questions will help to drive your design direction.

Frankly, a five member team should be able to come up with a more resolved design.
I would truly like to hear from these designers and understand the motivation behind their design decisions.

-The Design Critic