Just swipe it

This does not start as a bad example! but rather as a comparison of different concepts of operating a device: When I am with my camera (which is a very analogue one) I have a certain amount of buttons and switches and I know each one. When I am with the D3 or D4 of a friend, it’s the same in a way: Although I do not know it as well and there is menus for the more complicated stuff’, I can still operate the camera blindly, which comes in quite handy. Every camera targeting professionals let’s you use it this way.

When I use the NEX-5 of another friend there is virtually nothing I can change blindly. Most functions require to use the screen. So this is another concept. You do not need know the buttons and functions. Instead you will be guided step by step through a menu. You also do not have a lot of buttons. But still a lot of functions all accessible by the menu on the screen. The two concepts are for different target audiences:

  1. operate a device quickly and without looking (but you’ll have to know it well)
  2. operate a device without practice (but you will need some more time and will have to look)

Till now, as mentioned, everything fine. No hierarchy, no “better” concept, just different ones – for different people and different situations. But if you replace the first concept by the second one in a car we finally have reached our bad example!

Many modern cars use smaller or bigger touch screens in the center console. This seems utterly strange and – if you dare to think about it – actually quite dangerous. There is no way to feel a switch/button on a touch screen. There is no possible way of, let’s say, switching the temperature higher without taking your eyes of the street, checking the state of the touch screen, finding your way through the menus…

Also by it’s very nature: a touch screen is a screen – which is a device that wants you to look at it.

This all seems very obvious. Still it’s common practice to use it in a car. Honestly: most of my bad examples! are about watching the world, finding strange things (they are everywhere, this is normal) and being amused.

This one is different: it’s just frightening.