Hackers ‘remotely carjack’ Jeep

A central theme of all human centred design is that of trust, and its correlates of quality, functionality and reliability. Despite marketer’s, brander’s and designer’s increasingly urgent emphasis on interaction design and experience, the trust element of the relationship with the customer often plays an inordinately large role in determining commercial success. The situation is made all the more problematic by the increasing number of ways in which new technologies can lead to a loss of “trust”.

A case-in-point is today’s piece in The Independent which describes how many modern automobiles can be “hacked” and driven due to security weaknesses in their on-board electronic systems. While customers clearly desire sophisticated new electronic capabilities in their vehicles, the connectivity required by the new systems opens a completely new set of potential problems which can erode trust in a specific vehicle or in a complete brand.

In the never-ending saga of design there will ways be tensions between the opportunities provided by new technologies and the possible ways in which those same technologies might let people down.