When I used to work at a car company, there was one rule that was always mentioned when an interior was being designed. The company would talk to the engineers in charge and tell them to make sure that no accidents were caused because of their designs! It does appear as though such thinking has gone out the window in recent years, as more cars are being shipped with incredibly confusing and frustrating touchscreen operating systems.
On the surface, the idea of having a touchscreen that you can manipulate in a car is very exciting. But the enjoyment only lasts for a couple days. Eventually, drivers find these systems are more trouble than expected. The issue is that a touch screen is not intuitive to press when you are distracted by the road.
Say you want to change a setting, such as the temperature inside the car. Or maybe you are trying to lower the volume of the music that is playing. Instead of being able to touch a physical button without looking, you have to divert your eyes to the touchscreen and confirm that you are pressing the relevant area to make the change. That takes your eyes off the road for a precious few seconds.
While most people would say that you should never be making such changes when you are driving, sometimes you do not have an option. Say you are on a highway for a couple hours. You will not be stopping on the side of the road each time you want to adjust the air, volume or change the radio station. These are things you could do seamlessly while staring at the road in older cars.
But thanks to touchscreens, the systems are a lot less intuitive. Many screens do not provide any feedback when you register a touch. And some even have multiple screens that you must navigate through, so you can make specific changes. The result is a confusing process that requires you to put in a lot of work if you want to make the slightest adjustment while you are in your vehicle.
It is why we believe that such touchscreens have to go. The days of physical buttons that can be pressed must return. At the very least, companies should look into fake buttons that provide a feedback each time they are pressed – such as the home buttons on the editions of the iPhone before the X and Xs/Xr came out.
When you look at a car with a touchscreen as part of its interior, it looks so futuristic and exciting. But using these screens for simple settings related to your car is a frustrating experience. It is why they must be eliminated!