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Ford Makes Driving Safer With Bolder Fonts

June 22, 2011

When it comes to maker safer vehicles, most of us ponder the big things. We like to see driving aids, such as Electronic Stability Control and ant-lock brakes. We count the number of airbags a car has, and put an emphasis on things like crash testing to improve accident survivability.

Ford’s safety research involves the big picture, but the automaker also sweats the details. Nowhere is this more evident than in a recent announcement from Ford that font sizes for selected vehicle interface systems will grow up to 40 percent beginning next year.

Ford's bold fonts for the 2013 Explorer

Ford's bold fonts for the 2013 Explorer

Starting with the 2013 Ford Edge and Ford Explorer, the automaker will use bolder and thicker fonts to improve readability, as the result of customer-inspired research. As the population of older drivers increases, even minor changes to vehicle systems (such as using larger fonts) can create a safer driving environment.

The key to Ford’s research is finding the correct balance between font size and device function; make a font too large, and you’ll lack sufficient space to display the information. Likewise, it wouldn’t be profitable for Ford to build vehicles aimed at just one demographic, so changes to font size need to improve the driving experience for all age groups.

Unlike other safety systems, font size won’t sell cars on its own. By improving the interface between vehicle and driver, even in subtle ways, Ford is clearly demonstrating that even small things can yield big gains in safety.

[Ford, via The Car Connection]

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