Vincent has recently posted some interesting observations on Plastic Pilot about Steve Jobs, the iPhone and glass cockpits – noting that a big part of Apple’s success comes from simplicity and product ease of use (in other words, anyone can understand and use them). However, he also noted how difficult it is to actually create a product with good design.
Vincent then turns his attention to the cockpit by saying that:
From a user experience point of view a cockpit is not exactly simple or easy to understand. Electronics, and particularly integrated glass-cockpits, allowed for some standardization, but the overall complexity is still overwhelming. If you’re familiar with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit, or with any other Garmin unit, you probably eared the term “buttonology” a couple of times, don’t you? The sole existence of this term proves that despite all their efforts, the design guys at Garmin have not solved the complexity.
However, Paul from AskaCFI.com then noted in the comments section:
I would guess to say that Garmin has probably some really cool ideas that they have run past the FAA but that the FAA has said, “No way.” It is one thing for your iTouch to be cool and easy to use but your life isn’t dependent on it working (well for some of us anyway). If I were to change the quote above I would say “Regulation makes simplicity complicated.”
An interesting and probably an accurate observation!
At the end of the post, Vincent commented that he still thinks that glass cockpits with touch screens (a subject he wrote about last August) would help to improve the usability of airplane cockpits and make them more easier to understand. He ended his post by saying that if “Steve Jobs gets bored working for Apple and Pixar, I’m sure he could find new challenges and express all his love for good design in the glass-cockpit area…” – an idea we aren’t going to argue with!