Hands on the wheel! Voice User Interface Design for Personal Navigation Devices


  • Trainee: Areti Goulati
  • Company: TomTom
  • Company supervisor: PDeng M. Bukowska
  • TU/e supervisor: Dr. Ir. J. Terken


Personal Navigation Devices (PND) that provide driving directions based on a vehicle’s GPS location are widespread these days. While their instructions help the drivers get to their destinations easily, the fact that users interact with the devices by touch may however distract them from the primary task of driving.

Hands-free operation of a PND through Voice User Interfaces (VUI) aims at reducing the amount of attention drivers have to devote to the device, resulting in a better driving performance and in less cognitive demand when compared to operating the device by touch. However, a number of characteristics of VUIs pose unique design challenges.

Literature reviews, phone interviews, test driving sessions, expert reviews of competitor products, and a benchmarking study conducted showed practices to follow or to avoid when designing VUIs for use in vehicles.

This project, by providing a step-by-step procedure taken when designing five new features of the TomTom navigation devices’s VUI, offers insights on how to promote good User Experience to all users using VUIs when driving. Technical limitations and solutions taken to design challenges are discussed along the way. The results include sets of design guidelines for VUIs for use in vehicles, speech-based interaction flows, and guidelines for dialogue design.