The Prius touch interface and heads-up display (HUD) are an essential part of the experience of owning and driving a Prius since this is where the MPG efficiency is displayed to the driver. Prius owners want to know how efficient their car is during the driving experience and rely on the direct feedback from the HUD for this information.
The current Prius dashboard info is split into two areas: The main dashboard (with the speedometer, gas gauge, gear info, etc) is located on the top-middle of the dash. The sub dashboard is located in the lower center console along with audio player features. Both interfaces have many hidden features with a steep learning curve. Some of the features, such as graphs, are small and distracting while driving.
In the final design of the main dashboard, the elements essential for driving were placed closer to the driver, such as signal and headlight gauges, speedometer and gas gauge. In this design, the elements were placed on the left side for U.S. design, however, can be programmatically switched to the right side for right side driving (European design).
The center console interface was designed with both touchscreen and physical buttons. Incorporation of both touchscreen and physical buttons will allow the user the best of both worlds: modern touch screen features with haptic feedback in addition to physical buttons and dials for frequently used features so that trendy design features will not sacrifice ease in learnability and most importantly, safety.