Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Game of Driving

Reading about the Honda Insight’s game-like interface design reminded me quite a bit of this article about the user experience of the Prius:

You quickly learn that fast acceleration is bad: the engine always comes on, and your MPG drops like a stone. But coasting to a gentle stop is good, because you can see the car reclaim almost all that energy. It’s especially fun to climb hills: to watch the numbers drop and the engine kick on (red arrows) as you start climbing, and then to see the engine shut off, the regenerative braking start (green arrows), and the MPG go to 99.9 (whoo-hoo!) as you zoom down the hill. As an early hybrid owner put it, feedback screens turn ordinary driving into “an eternal battle between Red and Green. Red is bad, because you’re burning fuel. Green is good. I encourage green.”

Though the Insight seems to be embracing this, I’m curious when one of these companies will take it a step further, adding an online application that allows you to track and learn from your habits.

August 24, 2009