Friday, June 24, 2011

Ford displays a lack of touch

Ford took a major dive in the latest J.D. Power and Associates initial quality poll falling all the way to 23rd from fifth place last year.

What's driving this precipitous decline? David Sargent, VP of global vehicle research for J.D. Power said a major factor was "nonintuitive electronic controls as automakers rush to offer enhanced infotainment features such as voice-activated controls."

It's ironic that a system designed to enhance the driving experience is actually making things worse.

I guess I'm not surprised.

When it comes to designing multi-function displays, the auto industry has always had problems. Can anyone say "iDrive?"

I'm sure Ford spent thousands of hours designing, testing and refining the SYNC and MyFord Touch systems. What it boils down to is that these systems are very different from traditional analog controls drivers have used for decades and you can't just turn them on and get the most out of them even when they're designed well. Users of that darling of multi-touch technology, the iPhone, still need time to figure out how to use it. And they're not moving along at 55 miles per hour.

This is what happens when you stick your neck out and lead a category into new territory. Sometimes you don't get it right, right out of the box. And now Ford is paying the price. Let's hope they figure this out quickly so they can return to the top of the chart.

1 comment:

  1. This Ford interface has been awful since it began with such fanfare four or five-ish years ago. I had a Flex around LA a couple years back and I swear that there is not ONE THING that has been designed intuitively on the interface. I switched it off for two weeks. Now, iDrive in the third generation finally has it really right and may be the single best one on the market. That first gen was infuriating, though.