Car Stereo User Interface Issues…

Don't even try using this thing safely, apparently.

Someone on Reddit posted the following fantastic list of complaints about the car stereo pictured above. I thought it was a great list and an entertaining read, so I’m sharing some excerpts here. 🙂 It’s a good list of issues that should have been fixed, particularly regarding safety.

The UI is a disaster:

  1. Bumping the volume knob to have it toggle between vol/bass/treble/balance/fade/whatever is idiotic… when I accidentally press too hard (which is very easy when you’re trying to adjust volume while keeping your eyes on the road), you’re changing treble instead of volume, and now you have to take your eyes off the road and look down and bump & read the display until you see it back on “Volume”.
  2. The pairing with my bluetooth phone… doesn’t work automatically…. Also, this unit doesn’t support bluetooth audio, so I can’t play music off my phone unless I’m plugged in via the aux port.
  3. If there is an mp3 cd which has files that are more than, I think, 30 chars long in the receiver when you turn on the car, the unit resets and it defaults to factory presets.
  4. I really hate the “source” toggle that exists on all these modern multi-input receivers, in that you can’t tell the unit to ignore the source, so you’re always cycling through modes you’ll never use. I think this one teases you with the ability to remove 1 of the sources from the set – why not all you want?
  5. You can’t eject the cd unless the car is running or in Acc mode. All other units (factory installed, and the other car’s aftermarket one) let you eject the disk when the key’s not in the ignition.

What drives me nuts in general about most of these modern UI disasters is that receiver designers figured this shit out years ago; it’s like they took decades of UI design and throw it out the window every time they make a new piece of hardware and hand off the human factors work to Asok the intern.


Pretty true. My current car stereo has many similar issues, including the superfluous list of unused sources to cycle through. The menu system is needlessly complex, and the information architecture is a disaster. It was months before I finally searched the manual and took it out of demo mode because it was such a pain to figure out organically.

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