Sunday, August 13, 2006

Why Tech Cars Flunked J.D. Power Quality Study

UI problems with tech car controls ...

"In the 2005 J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Study, the Toyota Prius was the top-ranked compact car. This year, though, the 50-mpg gas/electric hybrid disappeared from the top three, despite the fact that a sibling car, the Toyota Corolla, is now the number one compact.

Why the drop? Complex hybrid controls, a non-standard transmission lever, and overbearing displays hurt the Prius's standings.

In general, high-tech cars fared poorly in this year's study, which measures initial defects in new cars and this year also addressed perceived problems with ergonomic design features. Manu­facturers opened the technology floodgates but forgot to make the cars easy to use. It's the "flashing 12:00" syndrome all over again: VCRs can't be programmed, the buttons on digital cameras are too small to manipulate, and the reset button doesn't cancel renegade print jobs. And car-tech features are too hard to comprehend.

Three of the five brands that use cockpit controllers dropped at least ten levels in the 2006 study. BMW, with iDrive, fell from number 3 to number 27, despite being third-best in the initial-defects part of the survey. Audi, with MMI—the best cockpit controller, in my opinion—fell from number 8 to number 18. Mercedes-Benz, with its perplexing Command system, dropped from 5th place to 25th."
(Continued via PC Magazine)   [Usability_Resources]

Prius Shift Control - Usability, User Interface Design

Prius Shift Control

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