Bendix King, an avionics sub brand of Honeywell, approached INDUSTRY to implement a future facing UX design language. As avionics creeps toward the ‘glass cockpit’, the challenge lies in understanding what is lost as the world shifts from physical to seamless digital interfaces. It seems everyone it scrambling to develop digital solutions for an analogue world. You probably don’t think twice about your smartphone’s keyboard anymore, while 10 years ago the prospect of giving one up was still in debate. In reality; touchscreens still suck in turbulence.
Imagine driving 60 down a road full of potholes, trying to turn down the music while watching your hand jump around uncontrollably right in front of the screen. Wouldn’t a knob be more effective? The problem with physical controls they take up valuable real estate in the cockpit. Having a large display with the right information at the right time is can transform your experience as a pilot. There is no winner between analog and digital, they just need to work better, together.
TACTILITY IN A DIGITAL WORLD
To overcome some of these challenges, we created a design language to include functional, signature elements ranging from analogue control systems to developing a touch screen chassis that helps steady the hand during use. Simply extending the bezel proud of the display provides critical hand anchoring points so that the UI is effective during turbulence. Optional analogue control panels provided a clear relation between physical control and digital experience.
With physical controls, you can feel your way to differentiate between knobs – one might control the radio, another might make the plane go up or down. We created controllers that had visual continuity in design, while clearly differentiating through detail and feel. This included a direct correlation between the fluting on the controller surface and the detents within the mechanics to provide logical connection between the look and feel. Inverting the fluting and chamfering on the fundamental form of the controllers allowed us to create a family of objects that feel and look different, but not out of place.
While the miracle of flight is young, its steeped in heritage and tradition. Bendix King is a true pioneer of avionics and there is an inherent trust that comes with that. It was important for the design guidelines to celebrate this heritage. Their products are intuitive and bulletproof, reflected through design detailing, materials and finishing, clearly identifiable in the cockpit. As avionics continue to transcend the world of knobs and levers Bendix King continues to deliver professional instruments for the modern aviator.
The first of these products include the xVue touch which recently won the 2018 Good Design Award in the Transportation category.
Global design strategy, consumer profile strategy, global software & hardware design language system, UX & behavior, 3D modeling, Renderings. The first of these products to come to market include the xVue touch which recently won the 2018 Good Design Award in the Transportation category.
Honeywell Aerospace Design Team
Bendix King Design Team