Naughty or Nice: Ergonomics


What good is a touch-screen if it’s out of arm’s reach or a radio volume knob positioned on the far side from the driver? Poor ergonomics make for frustrated drivers. Well-designed ergonomics offer comfort and ease of use while taking advantage of the technology in today's new cars. Some automakers have nailed this execution, while others leave us scratching our heads: Why should it take more than one step to turn on the heated seats?
More Naughty or Nice Picks


Naughty: MyFord/MyLincoln Touch (Explorer, Edge, Focus, MKX)

MyFord Touch makes us scratch, even bang, our heads in frustration. Instead of traditional buttons that provide feedback when pressed, MyFord Touch uses touch-sensitive pads such as the ones you’d find on a microwave. The touch pad’s activation spot is tiny and often unresponsive. On the Ford Focus, there’s just way too much info crammed into a small screen, which can be distracting to read. Ford is continually making improvements to the system and offering software updates to current owners to address some of these concerns.


Nice: Kia Optima

The Optima crams loads of controls into an easy-to-use center stack with real buttons. Some cars, like the Honda Accord, resort to button stacking that creates a busy, confusing command center. The Optima’s climate, audio and navigation controls are smartly compartmentalized. Plus, the entire stack is angled toward the driver to give a wraparound experience for easy viewing and use.

By Joe Bruzek | December 16, 2011 | Comments (10)



"What good is a touch screen...?" They're not, and they don't belong in cars!


+1 @PB87

Matt C.

Emphatically agree!


Touch screens are the future like it or not. We can't be using rotary knobs and analog technology forever. Time to move forward!


Knobs and buttons provide tactile feedback that make it easier to operate controls without looking (or with only a quick look). This is a big advantage when trying to adjust radio/climate control/whatever while you're driving.


WAY to many buttons on that KIA. Confusing and cluttered. Plus, it looks old fashioned. Hello, 1990 called and it wants its fax machine back.


Touchscreens do not belong in cars. Period.


Good ergonomics: knobs and buttons
Bad ergonomics: touch screens


If the touchscreen is designed better.


I actually like touch screens, just not in cars. It's not about the design/software, it's about tactile feedback and that is a necessity in a car.

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