WorldDAB releases guidelines for digital radio broadcasters

New guidelines for digital radio broadcasters and automotive manufacturers have been released by WorldDAB to ensure that visuals and text produced for in-vehicle screens are safe.

The new Driver Distraction guidelines have been produced with expert input from both the automotive and broadcast sectors, to ensure displays are safe for drivers while still providing the information listeners expect to see on their digital radio display.

The guidelines cover four key areas for in-vehicle visuals: legibility, relevance, frequency and local legislation. It also offers example visuals, showing how the guidelines can be used to design images for the car, and operational considerations to prevent updates and display functionality becoming distracting for drivers.

An important section in these guidelines – produced in consultation with vehicle manufacturers – includes the refresh rate for slides set at the industry standard of “not more frequently than every 20 seconds.”

The guidelines also highlight the importance of trigger time to broadcasters, noting that “producing and transmitting visuals is expensive, so commercial broadcasters need to sell visualisation (text and images) of audio advertising to meet their business case. They can only do that if the display of content to drivers is accurately timed and consistently visible.”

The guidelines reflect that in some countries, local legislation may be more constraining, and an annex will highlight relevant local requirements.

The guidelines will be presented at WorldDAB Automotive 2022, in London on 22 June. The event brings together experts from across the digital radio and vehicle manufacturing industries and highlights how they are working together to design the best audio experience for drivers.

Current WorldDAB guidelines for broadcasters and automotive manufacturers cover User Experience and Aftermarket Devices and are available on the WorldDAB website.

All guidelines are regularly updated by members of the WorldDAB Automotive Group, reflecting market and technical changes. The new Driver Distraction guidelines have been created in collaboration with both broadcasters and car manufacturers, along with other industry organisations working in both spaces.

Broadcast radio continues to dominate as the most preferred source of in-car entertainment across the globe, according to the recent Car Buyers Survey. The international study found that the “most desired radio features include voice controls and content information” with 90% of respondents saying that broadcast radio should be standard in every vehicle.

The WorldDAB Driver Distraction guidelines aim to ensure this valued radio broadcaster content information is always shown clearly and without distraction to drivers.