Keep it clean! The nooks and crannies in my car

Posted on Oct 12, 2011 in interior design
interior of Rav4

coin holder?

I cleaned my car out the other day: top to bottom wih a rag and rosemary oiled water. Five minutes in, I realized the rag was the wrong tool for all the teeny-tiny cracks and spaces that had collected dirt, debris and dust over the months (my mom was using it while I was in the Netherlands). Many Q-tips, toothpicks and small brushes later, my car was sparkling, but I got to thinking about how useless many of the small surface ‘design’ features really were.

Coin holders, belly-button like surfaces where screws held plastic pieces in place. Extra cup holders that weren’t fully removable (so dust was caught in a zone even a Q-tip couldn’t reach). And why do we have mats covering the floor carpet? Do the mats ever really get cleaned of their stains? Do people both to replace them when selling their cars?

I identified some design principles I’d try to follow in designing a car

  • Can be cleaned with a vacuum and a simple rag
  • Maximize space efficiency; minimize ‘dead space’
  • Cleanable, flexible materials (what if you could change colors of interior pieces?)
  • Simplified radio buttons
  • Multi-functioning ‘holding’ areas
I hate to compare products to the iPod all the time, but I think cars, like most tools, should be very intuitive. If you have to use a manual to preform basic tasks, it’s probably too complicated. When in doubt, strip it down!