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Comments on: Chevy Volt: A Study in UX Gone Wrong http://davejoh.com/?p=173 Dave Johnson's web site. No, not that Dave Johnson. The other one. No, not that one either. Oh, never mind. Sat, 21 Oct 2017 14:11:52 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.1 By: Robbert http://davejoh.com/?p=173#comment-60369 Robbert Mon, 04 Feb 2013 02:43:15 +0000 http://davejoh.com/?p=173#comment-60369 I own a Volt for 5 months (5000 miles) now. I share most of your observations about the UX design. Steve Jobs would turn in his grave: - stupid button layout: A button to set the time that I never use, yet no easy button to access audio presets. Messy menu structure. - Braindead way for switching between presets - Occasional random crash causes some (but curiously not all) presets to be lost - There are 4 ways to play from my iPhone, all of them suck. Mylink is a joke, since it takes so long before it is usable and because its hard to navigate. - The nav is worse than the one in my 7-year old toyota, even though its made by the same company. Routing is sub-par. Horrible POI search gives closest startbucks 500 miles away. Bugs galore (e.g. when breadcrums buffer is full, but cannot be saved while driving). - I listen a lot of podcasts, and at every start it takes quite some effort to get the thing to play. - No speed dial for favorite phone numbers: Calling my wife is a pain since the phone book contains 200 entries. - Stupid and meaningless MPG number is shown, but no true miles/kWh, which is a more useful rating of my driving style. - Auto-setting for climate control is wasteful and still fogs up the car. - Uselessly by gear shifter eats up the space that I would need to place my iPhone. - Loads of issues with the onstar app. Incompetency at the onstar software departments and its contractors cripple an otherwise great telemetry concept. Its all a the results of the typical 'big company' miscommunicaton between the units and the contractors. The spec is OK, but they have to learns that the devil is in the details. BUT. I've grown a little milder about it in time. I got in a routine that seems workable, and I just stop being irritated about the design misses, while enjoying the hits: - Gorgeous retina quality screens (both of them) that are readable in all situations. Nav looks pretty. You can see the curvature of the earth when zoomed out. - The sound quality is very good and adapts to vehicle speed. - At least the nav does not force me to 'OK' a stupid legal disclaimer each time I start the car (as in all Toyotas) - The 2 rotary buttons are pretty nice for controlling volume and zoom. - Nicely designed energy flow display under the speedometer shows kWh value in and out of the engines and battery. - The voice control actually works. It seems to be the quickest way to call my wife. - It looks and works different than other cars. I think the design concept is nice, and in the end managed to find the balance between 'advanced look' and familiarity. Out of the 30-some buttons there are perhaps 5 that I use. I can find them, just like I can blindly find the buttons on a querty keyboard that was also designed to annoy the users... Give it another 2 month, and the good wins from the bad, easily ;) I own a Volt for 5 months (5000 miles) now. I share most of your observations about the UX design. Steve Jobs would turn in his grave:

- stupid button layout: A button to set the time that I never use, yet no easy button to access audio presets. Messy menu structure.
- Braindead way for switching between presets
- Occasional random crash causes some (but curiously not all) presets to be lost
- There are 4 ways to play from my iPhone, all of them suck. Mylink is a joke, since it takes so long before it is usable and because its hard to navigate.
- The nav is worse than the one in my 7-year old toyota, even though its made by the same company. Routing is sub-par. Horrible POI search gives closest startbucks 500 miles away. Bugs galore (e.g. when breadcrums buffer is full, but cannot be saved while driving).
- I listen a lot of podcasts, and at every start it takes quite some effort to get the thing to play.
- No speed dial for favorite phone numbers: Calling my wife is a pain since the phone book contains 200 entries.
- Stupid and meaningless MPG number is shown, but no true miles/kWh, which is a more useful rating of my driving style.
- Auto-setting for climate control is wasteful and still fogs up the car.
- Uselessly by gear shifter eats up the space that I would need to place my iPhone.
- Loads of issues with the onstar app. Incompetency at the onstar software departments and its contractors cripple an otherwise great telemetry concept.

Its all a the results of the typical ‘big company’ miscommunicaton between the units and the contractors. The spec is OK, but they have to learns that the devil is in the details.

BUT. I’ve grown a little milder about it in time. I got in a routine that seems workable, and I just stop being irritated about the design misses, while enjoying the hits:

- Gorgeous retina quality screens (both of them) that are readable in all situations. Nav looks pretty. You can see the curvature of the earth when zoomed out.
- The sound quality is very good and adapts to vehicle speed.
- At least the nav does not force me to ‘OK’ a stupid legal disclaimer each time I start the car (as in all Toyotas)
- The 2 rotary buttons are pretty nice for controlling volume and zoom.
- Nicely designed energy flow display under the speedometer shows kWh value in and out of the engines and battery.
- The voice control actually works. It seems to be the quickest way to call my wife.
- It looks and works different than other cars. I think the design concept is nice, and in the end managed to find the balance between ‘advanced look’ and familiarity.

Out of the 30-some buttons there are perhaps 5 that I use. I can find them, just like I can blindly find the buttons on a querty keyboard that was also designed to annoy the users…

Give it another 2 month, and the good wins from the bad, easily ;)

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By: Robbert http://davejoh.com/?p=173#comment-60371 Robbert Mon, 04 Feb 2013 02:53:39 +0000 http://davejoh.com/?p=173#comment-60371 Oh I forgot one thing. Indeed if would be nice if the nav knew about charge stations. But practically that is less useful because they tend to change. Both for navigation and for charge stations there are great free smartphone apps. They beat any built-in nav, even the best. I would argue that the Volt does not need public charge stations for a number of reasons: - We have a backup engine, so no big deal if we miss it - The cost of public chargers (chargepoint of blink) are often too expensive: Anything at or above $1/hour is more expensive than driving on gas. - At 10 miles/hour, it takes way too long to charge anyway. Who wants to sit in a McDonalds for the car to charge up? The whole point of Voltec is that its OK to slow charge at home (or at work). No other infrastructure is needed to make this a workable car. Oh I forgot one thing. Indeed if would be nice if the nav knew about charge stations. But practically that is less useful because they tend to change. Both for navigation and for charge stations there are great free smartphone apps. They beat any built-in nav, even the best.

I would argue that the Volt does not need public charge stations for a number of reasons:

- We have a backup engine, so no big deal if we miss it
- The cost of public chargers (chargepoint of blink) are often too expensive: Anything at or above $1/hour is more expensive than driving on gas.
- At 10 miles/hour, it takes way too long to charge anyway. Who wants to sit in a McDonalds for the car to charge up?

The whole point of Voltec is that its OK to slow charge at home (or at work). No other infrastructure is needed to make this a workable car.

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