Ford Motor Company might just win me back as a customer in 2015 with its revised MyFordTouch infotainment system that includes traditional buttons and knobs.
There’s a chance I could kick my Lexus to the curb because of its convoluted controls and mouse on the console. Operating the devices makes me take my eyes off the road far too often.
New MyFordTouch System Might Delight 50+Don’t get me wrong, I love mobile technology, probably a little more than the average Baby Boomer, because I train my contemporaries on how to use it. But I don’t like being a distracted driver while trying to change the radio stations or make a voice activated phone call in my car. In fact, it kind of scares me.
A little history:
- In 2008 I leased my first Ford crossover– a Lincoln MKX. In the 37 years I’d been driving, it was my first Ford product. I was a GM girl for most of my life, even though I was driving a Lexus at the time. But my Boomer girlfriends were all driving MKXs and they seemed pretty happy.
- As a Detroiter, watching the car companies in a free fall, I decided to support my hometown, turn in my Lexus 330 crossover, and try the Lincoln.
- It was my first car with voice activated controls and a touch screen.
My experience with the Lincoln during the next three years and the dealership were not great, but the biggest problem was the voice activated touch screen. The system didn’t always pair with my phone, it didn’t recognize my voice, and it often acted on commands I wasn’t giving. In short, it was a real hassle to drive. Not to mention that it was dangerous– as I was spending so much time trying to talk to it.
However, the poor experience was compounded by the dealer’s inability to train me how to use this vehicle.
“Read the manual, it’s all there,” I recall the salesman saying. “Here’s a card, go to your computer and check all out all the features.”
The trouble was, I couldn’t use my computer in the car when I was trying to operate it, and there was no trainer at the dealership to answer questions.
To be fair—Lexus has a person who helps train new buyers on using the car’s information system and he was extremely helpful. But the car’s system’s design is just too long and drawn out for my taste. It takes three or four mouse clicks just to change the radio station.
Real Training Needed
So I’m looking forward to testing the new MyFordTouch system. I hope it comes with some real training support. As someone in the training industry, I know that training pays for itself.
When a company is selling a product that costs $30,000-$70,000 per unit, as is the case with Ford, it would make sense to train people carefully on how to use the computer systems. As more “connected car” options become available, I’m guessing auto companies would like to sell them to customers. But without training, I doubt the Boomers will want even more gadgets they can’t operate. Also, in addition to educating drivers, training is a great way to earn customer loyalty.
So I welcome exploring the new MyFordTouch system and I hope it comes with some real training support. If it does, Ford might get me back from the Lexus I love that has an infotainment system I find difficult to use.
And remember car techie designers– nothing about mobile apps or technology are intuitive to the 50+ market. We didn’t grow up with mobile—so app developers please stop saying that. You can make apps easier for us to use but they will never be intuitive.
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