Newsletter Issue #821: The Horrible Infotainment Experience

August 24th, 2015

When Ford wanted to add a modern infotainment system to their motor vehicles they partnered with Microsoft. I suppose that seemed a logical move at the time, since most anyone with a personal computer used Microsoft’s operating system. So surely that company knew how to design a proper user interface.

But for a car?

Well, MyFord Touch became the feature owners loved to hate. Slow menus, touchscreens that often didn’t sense your touch, and a general byzantine interface. It all compounded to reduce the scores in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Ford vehicles were otherwise quite reliable overall. They were well rated for ride and handling, though admittedly they fudged some of the fuel economy numbers on some of their vehicles. But when it came to the infotainment system, frustration ruled.

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2 Responses to “Newsletter Issue #821: The Horrible Infotainment Experience”

  1. dfs says:

    Sorry I couldn’t finish reading this piece, Gene, but the link to the continuation is broken. I hope you went on to make the further point that a badly designed infotainment system is a serious safety hazard. In my state, and probably in yours too, the use of cell phones not of the hands-free variety and texting are illegal because they are too distracting and take a driver’s eyes off the road. The very same complaints can be made about many infotainment systems, and it beats me why lawmakers remain indifferent to this issue (as do many journalists who write car reviews). As matters stand, in the absence of even minimal standards, a car maker such as Ford is free to put any old thing into his dashboards, no matter how dangerous its use may be. But the bottom line is that a badly designed infotainment system can kill you.

    Which is why I retrofitted my own car (a 2003 model) with a Car Play system combined with a backup camera. The expense was not inconsiderable, but I justified the outlay by telling myself that I was getting not just the coolest such system available (although it is), but also the safest. I just wish Siri worked a bit better!

    • @dfs, Even though it seems broken, click it and it should work.

      Not sure why that’s happening.

      In any case, I mentioned the safety angle briefly since it’s obvious. If you are distracted from driving safely because the infotainment system is taking too much of your attention, it’s a hazard.


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