A interesting lesson in user interfaces

My truck needed to go into the shop for some warrantee work, so the Ford dealer actually paid for a rental for me over the weekend. They gave me a 2012 Lincoln MKT. It’s pretty nice, for sure. However, the touchscreen “infotainment” screen was dizzying, to me. Here is the climate control screen – just soak it in:

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When I first got in the car, I must’ve looked at this screen for like 10 seconds to understand what the hell I was looking at! Which settings are universal? Which are for “driver” vs “passenger”? Over the weekend, I literally said out loud many times “What a horrible, horrible user interface” as it would take me a few seconds to figure out what I needed to hit to turn on the defroster or turn the temperature (for the whole car) down or up.

One other thing I found sooooo frustrating is that there apparently is no way to turn the sound system “OFF”. You can only turn it down. Again, also not a great UI:

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Same kind of thing – first, it always takes me a few seconds to figure out what it is I need to push to do what I want. However, the main aggravation was having to use the steering-wheel volume to turn the volume down instead of “muting” or “turning off” the radio when you pull up to a drive-thru, for example. You are typically turning the wheel as you round the corner, and that is the time when you need to use the volume rocker on the steering wheel (I didn’t see any other way to change the volume).

Lastly, I was surprised that these displays are not capacitive touch-screens (like a smart phone). Instead, they are the traditional ones where it doesn’t pick up your finger presses very well (like an ATM screen). You would think that with these sorts of features adding on 1 to 2 thousand dollars on to the price of a car (and the capacitive multi-touch version of this being only $199) that it would be a better experience.

Posted in Multi-Touch, New Technology, Uncategorized

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