Nissan takes its interior design extremely serious. So serious in fact that the company has invented a suit that testers wear so they can feel years older than what they are, allowing them first-hand information on older customer's behaviour in cars.
Bloggers, readers and journalists are often at heads with car manufacturers over both exterior and interior design philosophies. What works for Sam doesn't necessarily work for Pam yet the two are equally important to the automaker. At Nissan this problem is constantly being monitored by the design department through means of observing people for hours on end while they use apparatus such as gear levers, indicator stalks and radio knobs.
Staff at the Nissan Design Centre in Japan have developed interesting projects in order to better understand how people interact with cars. Recently for example they built an "aging suit" for the purpose of helping the team simulate the complexities and challenges encountered by aging drivers when entering their cars or operating the equipment.
The Best Usability Interior second-stage prototype or BUI-2 being tested is said to be logical in its layout. Nissan reckons a first-time user would not find it difficult to control anything. Even the steering wheel design is designed to let the two thumbs rest comfortably on it while the left index finger easily operates the electronic gear shift paddle.
"How do we understand which knob does what - and how it's supposed to work?", "Where do we expect to find it?" and "How does the experience make people feel?" These are just some of the questions the team works on.