Ford’s Touchscreen Problems

Some people say it’s good to learn from your own mistakes. I disagree. It’s better to learn from someone else’s mistakes. In this case, you could learn a valuable lesson on in-the-wild testing (or lack thereof) from Ford Motors. Here’s the story from the New York Times:

But after many buyers grew frustrated with flaws in the system, known as MyFord Touch and developed with Microsoft, Ford’s quality ratings plunged and a feature meant to increase loyalty instead damaged perceptions of the company.

MyFord Touch replaces many of the traditional knobs and buttons in a vehicle with touch screens, steering wheel-mounted controls and spoken commands.

I think they were too willing to rush something out because of the flashiness of it rather than the functionality,” said Michael Hiner, a former stock-car racing crew chief in Akron, Ohio, who bought a Ford Edge Limited last year largely because he and his wife were intrigued by MyFord Touch.

Now Ford has issued a major upgrade that redesigns much of what customers see on the screen and tries to resolve complaints about the system crashing or rebooting while the vehicle is being driven. Ford said on Monday that the upgrade made the touch screens respond to commands more quickly, improved voice recognition capabilities and simplified a design that some say had the potential to create more distractions for drivers who tried to use it on the road. Fonts and buttons on the screen have been enlarged, and the layouts of more than 1,000 screens have been revamped.

We expect that these improvements will put us back on track in the quality ratings,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “It’s more than just an update. This is a substantial upgrade.”

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