Change Blindness is a well documented phenomenon which takes place when humans are not able to see a visual change that has occurred when it is not within their focus of attention - and which may seem obvious once pointed out. You may remember this famous example. We talked about change blindness a bit in our Distraction and Inattention module. You can see how it applies to driving - something may change in our field of view while driving but we don't pick it up because we aren't looking directly at it.
This great article talks about the phenomenon in a user interface testing context. That is - why is it that changes that web designers feel are obvious, are often missed by users, leading to frustration and being unable to find things?
We love learning about human perception, and especially so when we can learn from other disciplines. Have a read of the article here and let us know what you think!
And in case you're interested... while driving, the answer to avoiding change blindness has a lot to do with making sure we stay attentive (and not distracted) and also keeping our eyes moving so we continue to observe the whole scene around us and not just a small area we are focusing on.
How do you make sure you keep aware of changes in your driving environment?