#FormulaE’s use of Onscreen Graphics – What the Fans said…

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Back in April we at Formula eDiary asked you fans, for your opinion on Formula E’s use of Onscreen Graphics and Information.

Let’s take a look at the results and ask you to ponder… now that the season is over, have your thoughts changed in any way?


On Screen Graphics – What Did The Fans Say?

Following a number of comments seen on social media, Formula eDiary conducted some research into what Formula E fans thought of the graphics used during Formula E races.

The feedback was collected through several channels:

  • An article on the Formulaediary.com website.
  • The Reddit Formula E thread.
  • Emails and Twitter Interaction through @Formulaediary
  • Autosport Forum.

Fans were asked to give feedback on three different types of on screen graphics:

  • On-board Graphics
  • Race Graphics
  • Pit stop Graphics

On-board Graphics

Over 223 fans gave voted on our poll. Interestingly, 186 people believed that the graphics were too cluttered, with almost 50% of that group also saying that the graphics were confusing. Interestingly, only 26 people believed the on-board graphics to be clear and informative.

graph1

Some comments we received included:


‘I can’t say I really know what all the graphics show. I got that the remaining battery level in the middle and the current power output on the right, but the rest? Going by the picture in the post there seems to be:

* Another battery level measure at the bottom (Why? Duplicate information just adds clutter. Have the centre show current speed and enlarge the battery level box at the bottom to make it more prominent)

* Engine mapping (which seems utterly useless as we don’t know what it actually means)

* Current gear (could be useful, but only if you get to compare it to other cars)

* Target delta (delta to what?)

* Speed (makes sense. But like I said above, have the exact number in the centre as well. It’s not duplicate information as is the case for battery level as it’s hard to read the exact number from the gauge)’


‘There is a lot of information contained in a small screen area in the graphics. Too much. It ends up becoming a distraction. Besides, remember that lots of people are watching on electronic devices and are completely unable to decipher any of the information at that scale.’


‘On board graphic has some redundant information, Power output and power bar, for example. Also Battery percentage in the center, and down next to battery bar… Throttle bar is great, but we need to see more clearly the speed bar’


‘The telemetry display is just cluttered and too busy… but does show good info.’


‘I never get why you need to know what gear they are on. What value does this ad for someone watching on TV? Also the throttle/brake value. Its just too much info for a quick glance. If it would be there all the time to see, ok. But it just appear for a few seconds and then disappears.’

There was however some positivity regarding the graphics, as one fan said:

‘I actually like that info, it’s interesting to see where they’re braking into the corners and what gear they go round.’

The general consensus was that whilst some of the information is useful, there is too much of it and not all of it is necessary. As a result, it becomes difficult to notice and interpret the important information, especially as the graphics are only used for a few seconds at a time. Several fans also mentioned that it was difficult to read the graphics when watching the race on small screens…


‘I do think the onboard graphics are a bit cluttered and confusing, but the biggest problem of all is how tiny all the writing is in the first place. I watch most stuff on a 24″ monitor from about 2-3m away, and I can barely ever read anything. White on light blue is a bad choice for readability anyway, but the font is way too small. I get on fine with the F1 onscreen graphics, you’d think they could just replicate those.’


‘I watch the races through the FIA website on my laptop and it’s impossible to read anything. It’s too bloated and you can’t tell what the information represents’.

One fan compared the onboard graphics to that used in Formula 1 in 2011 to highlight how overly complex the Formula E one was:

I for one much prefer the F1 graphic style in 2011. We can modify the KERS bar to have exact battery % left, modify DRS to be “REGEN” or something, get rid of rev counter, maybe even add a g-force meter. 

graph2

 

Race Graphics

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149 people voted in the poll, with many giving feedback in either the comments section, through Twitter or on Reddit.

Feedback on the amount of information presented was very well received. Many fans did however point out that whilst the information was good, the font and colour used made it very difficult to read the information…


‘I like the amount of information on the screen but would favor a clearer, more utilitarian way of displaying it rather than the current stylized look.’


‘I watch in standard definition (don’t have ITV4 HD in my UK package). Some of the on screen graphics are very difficult to read, as they are designed with HD in mind.’


‘I love the displays, but hate the colors. They’re very difficult to read, regardless of what I’m watching on.’

One fan went into a bit more detail with his opinions, providing images comparing the Formula E graphics to that of Formula 1…


* White text on a cyan background is almost impossible to read

* Small italic font compounds this issue

* The bottom ‘running order/gap’ information takes up a lot of space. 

* When all information overlays are on at the same time, there is about 50% of the screen left to the actual racing. 

I don’t like constantly comparing to F1 but this season, I feel like FOM have perfected the on screen graphics. Everything is clear, easy to read and blends away when you’re not looking at them. Compare Formula 1 to Formula E, these images are almost the same size. I can’t make any information out on the FE screen shot, F1 though, not a problem.

Formula 1 Screenshot:

graph4

Formula E Screenshot:

graph5

Overall, it’s clear that whilst the information contained in the graphics is very good, the information itself is very difficult to read, mainly due to the colour combination. The comparison to the Formula 1 screenshot is a great example of how cyan font makes it difficult to take in the data. On smaller devices, such as iPads, phones and laptops, this becomes much worse.

Pit Stops

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Fans generally felt that it was difficult to keep track of driver positions during pit stops although little feedback was given as to how this could be improved. There were some positive comments and suggestions put forward:


‘Pit Stops were recently improved by adding of the stop timer. I think it’s fine now.’


‘Given how important this the pit stops are to the race result, I’m surprised they don’t use a GPS graphic to show the positions of drivers as they come in/out of the pitlane. It’s difficult to tell who has won/lost positions in the pit stops because you can’t tell where people are in relation to each other’


‘The commentators seem to struggle too which makes things worse. A GPS track like the one used in F1 would really help understand who is where. Sometimes drivers are fighting each other on track but once they pit, you have to wait 2-3 minutes until you know what’s happened. There’s a five minute period in every race where you’re just waiting to see what happened’.

Summary

We were able to receive a significant amount of valuable data from fans, especially with regards to their opinions of the on-board graphics and race graphics used.

Fans generally felt that the race graphics were useful and that the right amount of information was presented. Many however felt that the colour scheme was poor and made it very difficult to read the information. The comparison between the Formula 1 and Formula E images shows this well, and highlights how difficult it must be for those watching on smaller screens to read the information.

Feedback regarding the on-board graphics was slightly less positive. Whilst many appreciated the amount of information that was presented, the majority felt the graphics were too cluttered and in some cases unnecessary. Many suggested that the amount of information should be reduced.


Do you agree with these findings?

Has your opinion of Formula E’s use of on-screen graphics changed as the season has gone on in any way? Are you happy with them, or do you feel they could still use some changes?

As ever, let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, or via our twitter @FormulaEDiary.

#FormulaE #DriveTheFuture

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