Tschirhart, M. and Ku, K., "The Influence of Font Type on Task Performance in a Static and Driving Simulation Environment," SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-0443, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-0443.
The vehicle environment is known to be a demanding context for efficiently displaying information to the driver. Research in typography reveals some factors that influence reading performance measures, but there is limited research on the influence of typographic design elements in a driver-vehicle interface on user performance with a simulated driver task. Participants in these studies completed a set of vehicle infotainment tasks that involved a text-based item search in a custom-designed interface that employed a family of Helvetica Neue fonts, in a static environment and a driving simulator environment. Analysis of the data from the two studies reveals a modest but statistically significant effect of font on certain driving-related task performance measures. In both studies, fonts with intermediate values of character width and line thickness were associated with the best performance on a simulated driving task. The results of this study suggest that using typefaces with intermediate values of certain intrinsic design factors may serve as a simple and effective means of improving vehicle user interfaces.