Intuitive interfaces: Is the Renault Clio any better than the Ford Focus? Let’s have some consistency

Intuitive interfaces: Is the Renault Clio any better than the Ford Focus? Let’s have some consistency

I take the Audi TT back today. I’ll miss the gearbox. In its place I have a Renault Clio. I was talking yesterday about how I just don’t read instruction manuals in the cars that I drive  (except for the Peugeot 407 that was so complex I had to delve in a couple of times). Part of my overall impression of the car is based on whether I can get in and easily figure out how to tune the stereo, change the aircon, deactivate the cruise missiles, etc. In the case of the Renault, it’s got a dial-within-a-dial for the fan speed on the aircon. Not exactly intuitive. With the Audi, it’s got an unusual dial for which vents the air comes out of. And I already mentioned about the Ford’s clock in my previous post.

Perhaps we need some kind of consistency. Most cars nowadays have a fairly standard gearshift arrangement. With the exception of horrible column-shift cars, and a couple of supercars, its usually in the central console. If it’s an auto, park is usually at the top of the gate. If it’s a manual first is usually top left (though some manufacturers like to put reverse even further over on the top left). But it’s pretty easy. Take stereo and aircon controls, though, and they’re all over the damn place. The Ford has its stereo controls on a stubby stalk to the left of the wheel, the Renault to the right of the wheel, and the Audi’s are on the wheel. Three European-built cars, and they can’t agree on a simple thing like that. If you add the Dodge Nitro to the mix (which isn’t European), its audio controls are on the back of the wheel! Where you can’t see them. And they’re shaped like nipples!

I take the Audi TT back today. I’ll miss the gearbox. In its place I have a Renault Clio. I was talking yesterday about how I just don’t read instruction manuals in the cars that I drive  (except for the Peugeot 407 that was so complex I had to delve in a couple of times). Part of my overall impression of the car is based on whether I can get in and easily figure out how to tune the stereo, change the aircon, deactivate the cruise missiles, etc. In the case of the Renault, it’s got a dial-within-a-dial for the fan speed on the aircon. Not exactly intuitive. With the Audi, it’s got an unusual dial for which vents the air comes out of. And I already mentioned about the Ford’s clock in my previous post.

Perhaps we need some kind of consistency. Most cars nowadays have a fairly standard gearshift arrangement. With the exception of horrible column-shift cars, and a couple of supercars, its usually in the central console. If it’s an auto, park is usually at the top of the gate. If it’s a manual first is usually top left (though some manufacturers like to put reverse even further over on the top left). But it’s pretty easy. Take stereo and aircon controls, though, and they’re all over the damn place. The Ford has its stereo controls on a stubby stalk to the left of the wheel, the Renault to the right of the wheel, and the Audi’s are on the wheel. Three European-built cars, and they can’t agree on a simple thing like that. If you add the Dodge Nitro to the mix (which isn’t European), its audio controls are on the back of the wheel! Where you can’t see them. And they’re shaped like nipples!

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