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"Just a little bit of restraint would have gone a long way in making the Volt’s infotainment system more intuitive. As proof, I’ve created a better solution in five minutes with Photoshop."

http://blogs.automobilemag.com/fix-chevrolet-volt-10447.html

I have no personal experience (yet), but the before and after images help explain his suggestions.
 

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My suggestion for improving the center console is get rid of the electric parking brake and put in an old fashion manual operated ratcheting lever. Simpler, fewer things to go wrong, and you could use it in an emergency.
 

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The lack of a mechanical parking brake worries me actually. I've had to use it before in a past vehicle when a hydraulic line in my brake system ruptured. I've been meaning to simulate an emergency in the Volt to determine how it responds while traveling down the road. Also, I can't help but wonder if you had a kid in the front seat who thought it would be a good idea to flick the little switch while traveling at break-neck speed down the interstate... What would happen? This is going to happen at some point to somebody!
 

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The center console issue is both simple and very complex. Yes, there are too many buttons, buttons in illogical places and groupings, buttons that simply don't need to be there (e.g., the TP button, used twice a year by most and a duplicate of functionality available in the Config menu set). But the real issue is much deeper.

If you're the only person available to work the center console controls, it is nearly impossible to do much of anything important with the center console unless you take your eyes from the road. Or work very, very hard to figure out a systematic way to find things without looking, without accidentally touching an extra button, and without hitting the wrong button.

There's no benign tactile feedback: as soon as you even brush any of the touch-sensitive buttons, you activate that button. The top row isn't too bad, but even in that row it's very hard to find the fan control buttons reliably without looking. Going after the rear window defroster? There's a good chance you'll hit the fan control unless you glance at the panel. Yes, I really do want to be able to change where the air's going, how much of it is coming in, and its temperature without looking. In every car I've had previously (extended "had previously" to include cars that were primarily my wife's ride), that's been easy.

There are too many distractions while driving anyway: billboards, phone calls, pretty energy flow animations, traffic warnings.

This isn't just the Volt, either: it's a trend in newly designed interiors, it seems. Too bad the car industry doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the human factors research, development, and real experience from, for example, aviation systems designs (including cockpits as well as air traffic control radar facilities).

I really do like my Volt. I think GM has done an absolutely superb job on the car, the powertrain, the entire package. But the center console is just horrible, and Eric Tingwall's referenced "cleanup" won't really give the car what it should have.
 

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Have someone send that new console layout to GM. There may be still enough time to clean up the 2012 year model console before manufacturing begins.

Raymond
 

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Can someone explain to me WHY I have to set the clock twice a year ?

The car has Onstar, they can send directions to the Nav why not the time. This is a pet peeve of mine, when you have as much electronics as I have having to set the clock twice a year is a royal pain.
 

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I agree the center stack is too complex. I often find my self hunting for a button while driving, which isn't a good thing. Just entirely too busy of a layout.

I would gladly give up some of the buttons in exchange for a way to switch between fan-only and eco without going to the touch screen. In the mornings, it's cool enough to use just the fan, but after I leave work, I would really like it in eco mode. I find myself putting the car in reverse, which turns on the backup camera, then I remember to change the climate settings, but I can't do that because the backup camera is on.

I firmly believe you put buttons on the console for those few things frequently used, and likely to be used while driving. The rest can go on the screen.

And no, I have not yet used the TP button (reminds me of an abbreviation for toilet paper) :confused:
 

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My pet peeve would be keeping the "info" button unless they add some non-XM functionality to it.
 

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I really haven't had any issue with the console...and his mockup just removed a few buttons...not really much thought in it.
 

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Why would you have to re-set the clock in the Volt? Why would GM not keep the clock set properly from the satellite signal. My 2009 Honda Accord EX-L w/ Navigation keeps the clock on the correct time from time zone to time zone and daylight savings time changes. I never have to touch the clock settings and don’t even know if you can. Why would GM not do the same? I don’t have a Volt yet, so I don’t know what all it can and can’t do.
 

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I really haven't had any issue with the console...and his mockup just removed a few buttons...not really much thought in it.
He also re-arranged a lot of the buttons and grouped them in a more workable fashion. His version looked better, made more sense and would probably be a lot less confusing. I say: Get with the program GM and get her done.
 

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For me it needs to more more like an iPhone. Put a few physical buttons such as (Climate, Nav, Infotainment, etc) and the majority buttons on the touch screen. Isn't the purpose of a touch screen to eliminate physical buttons? When one presses the climate button, the touch screen should change to climate display with all the climate related buttons the touch screen.

Maybe even have a default display so a driver can put the most used buttons on the touch screen (volume up, down, temperature up down, etc). Or maybe some smarts so the systems automatically puts a driver's most used buttons on a default screen.

GM also nees to add skins to the display.
 

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The center console issue is both simple and very complex. Yes, there are too many buttons, buttons in illogical places and groupings, buttons that simply don't need to be there (e.g., the TP button, used twice a year by most and a duplicate of functionality available in the Config menu set). But the real issue is much deeper.

If you're the only person available to work the center console controls, it is nearly impossible to do much of anything important with the center console unless you take your eyes from the road. Or work very, very hard to figure out a systematic way to find things without looking, without accidentally touching an extra button, and without hitting the wrong button.

There's no benign tactile feedback: as soon as you even brush any of the touch-sensitive buttons, you activate that button. The top row isn't too bad, but even in that row it's very hard to find the fan control buttons reliably without looking. Going after the rear window defroster? There's a good chance you'll hit the fan control unless you glance at the panel. Yes, I really do want to be able to change where the air's going, how much of it is coming in, and its temperature without looking. In every car I've had previously (extended "had previously" to include cars that were primarily my wife's ride), that's been easy.

There are too many distractions while driving anyway: billboards, phone calls, pretty energy flow animations, traffic warnings.

This isn't just the Volt, either: it's a trend in newly designed interiors, it seems. Too bad the car industry doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the human factors research, development, and real experience from, for example, aviation systems designs (including cockpits as well as air traffic control radar facilities).

I really do like my Volt. I think GM has done an absolutely superb job on the car, the powertrain, the entire package. But the center console is just horrible, and Eric Tingwall's referenced "cleanup" won't really give the car what it should have.
I totally agree. I have problems with the heated seats and the HVAC system coming on seemingly totally on their own when I push buttons to activate other features. Maybe it's just because I brush against them accidentally, but I don't think so. I too love the car, but the center stack, not so much, LOL.
 

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Why would you have to re-set the clock in the Volt? Why would GM not keep the clock set properly from the satellite signal.
This is one of my bigger pet peeves about the Volt. The GPS knowns when it is, and where it is. There's NO reason for the clock to not be self setting. The OnStar system not only knows when it is (it's a requirement of the cellular standard) it even knows the time zone of the base station it's tracking.

There's no excuse for the radio's clock to be free running.

I have problems with the heated seats and the HVAC system coming on seemingly totally on their own when I push buttons to activate other features. Maybe it's just because I brush against them accidentally, but I don't think so.
And my other major pet peeve, all in the same note thread! It's ridiculously easy to accidentally very lightly touch the "auto" button at the top of the stack. Yup, it does exactly what you describe. It's possible to avoid it, but it takes some major "user modification".
 

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I agree that the buttons are tuchey, but check unter the climate controle to see if the auto seat heater function is on for eather seat.

I am going to start learnig to use the voice commands for as many functions as I can, to avoid touching the console as much as possible.

I also agree aboout the clock setting.

One other frustration that I have is with the lack of ability to edit the album and track names on the HD, I have older CD's recorded that read as disk 1, disk 2 ect. and track 1 track 2 ect.
 

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Rusty,

Well maybe that's my problem, LOL. We had a pretty serious warm spell here a couple of weeks ago. At least twice on 90 degree plus days I felt my butt getting HOT. Imagine my surprise when I looked down and saw the driver's side heated seat turned on to max. Go figure.
 

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marlow,

I keep turning the auto seat heater off now, but it must come back on every time you restart the car or something. I wish there was a way to just turn the whole climate function OFF until I want it on again. It's all "too clever by half" IMHO. How about a nice big toggle switch on the dash, LOL? I'm starting to fantasize about getting behind the dash with a pair of wire cutters, hahaha.
 

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Hate touch buttons on cars and remote controls, I like to be able to find them from feel. Hated touch buttons on my ipod 3g, didn't always register a touch and eventually failed. It's fine using touch screen for complex stuff you'd do while parked (setting charging schedules, inputting phone numbers, addresses into the nav), and rarely used functions, but for common stuff you'd adjust while driving like fan speed, toggling climate modes/AC/defrost, radio presets/audio source, I'd much prefer big old fashioned knobs and physical buttons. At least the steering wheel controls help with the radio stuff.
 

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This is what I am absolutely least excited about in the volt. After driving my current infernally complicated button heavy 6 figure techno barge. I am excited about every aspect of the volt but the gimmicky looking buttons and complete lack of a well designed user experience has me concerned. I have test driven one, and will still buy one, but that is still what I think I will probably like the least about the car. I really miss the days of being able to drive and operate the car by memory of where the buttons and knobs are without taking your eyes off the road.

Don't get me wrong I LOVE technology but I just don't like the way it is implemented in most cars today. Especially the tech heavy ones.
 

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Why would you have to re-set the clock in the Volt? Why would GM not keep the clock set properly from the satellite signal. My 2009 Honda Accord EX-L w/ Navigation keeps the clock on the correct time from time zone to time zone and daylight savings time changes. I never have to touch the clock settings and don’t even know if you can. Why would GM not do the same? I don’t have a Volt yet, so I don’t know what all it can and can’t do.
I'm going to guess that some people prefer to set it themselves... i.e., some people may set their clock 10 minutes ahead to help prevent themselves from being late. This isn't uncommon.

However, I think they should have an option that says "Use GPS Time" or something similar, preventing the need to manually set the clock if one so desires.
 
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