Volkswagen to reintroduce physical buttons in new cars, ditching touch screen controls.

Volkswagen cars are readjusting to their customer preferences by bringing back physical controls. Find out what prompted this adjustment and how it benefits motorists.

A Shift in Design Idea in VW's Vehicle Production

Traditionally, VW was known for incorporating physical controls (such as knobs and buttons) in vehicle designs. However, over time, there was a shift towards interactive touchscreen displays, coinciding with the ongoing digital revolution.

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This meant that vehicle controls were incorporated into the software, deeming physical controls unnecessary. The upgraded design was seen as trendy and an essential step towards modernity, aligning with the tastes of the digitization-friendly public.

Volkswagen to reintroduce physical buttons in new cars, ditching touch screen controls. ImageAlt

Yet, VW is deviating from the digital trend by bringing back physical controls. The surprise move signifies a rebirth of older vehicle designs and underlines the growing importance of customer input.

A U-turn for Volkswagen Cars

Drivers have expressed concerns and complaints about the practicality of touchscreen controls while driving. The shift from touchscreen back to physical controls is mainly due to customer requests and feedback. These include challenges in operating the touchscreen while driving, which led many to suggest the return of tactile controls.

Moving at speed in fluctuating rhythms necessitates a driver’s focused interaction with the vehicle. Having to look and tap on the touchscreen could potentially lead to distractions, hence creating a need for tactile controls. The reintroduction of physical controls in VW vehicles comes as a welcome change for these motorists.

Notably, this change is expected to boost acceptance among VW car users who prefer traditional controls. By reverting to the use of physical knobs and buttons, VW is essentially enhancing overall user-friendly experiences in their vehicles.

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Even with the world embracing digital approaches, it seems clear that physical control mechanisms in vehicles remain irreplaceable.

Difficulties along the Digital Path

The first round of the all-new and all-electric Volkswagen Golf 8 model came with intricacies that were quite unfamiliar, mainly due to the enhanced digitalization approach. It introduces a new steering wheel adorned with touch-sensitive buttons, an upgraded infotainment system, and a display incorporating vehicle control functions.

These caused drivers to struggle with the intricacies of the digital controls. Typically, a driver would just adjust the temperature with a turn of a knob in older models. But with the digital controls, the process became tedious as they had to navigate through a couple of menus to get to the climate control settings.

The case was similar with the driving modes; changing from Normal to Sport mode, for instance, was not as straightforward. It involved several prods and swipes on the center touchscreen. What would have previously been a simple, swift action now involved a bit more tinkering.

Although interestingly futuristic, each control's functionality proved quite a puzzle to some drivers. Thus, the transition to previous methods was welcomed.

Volatile Feedback

The feedback from drivers was not all negative. Some users appreciated the modern and chic look of the touch and swipe controls. They give a futuristic and sleek look that some drivers appreciate.

There are also those who enjoy the prominent digital display. They feel that it adds a tech-savvy aspect to driving, making their vehicles feel cutting-edge and advanced. Certainly, a selling point to the more tech-inclined customer base.

This highlights a divide in preferences. Some users are fond of the technology, and others find it cumbersome. The challenge for car manufacturers, therefore, is to strike a smart balance.

Finding the balance is tricky. If you lean too far to one side, you risk alienating a part of the customer base. The important thing is the comfort and safety of the driver while still keeping up with the trend of digitalization.

Lessons for the Car Manufacturing Industry

The uproar and subsequent U-turn by Volkswagen can serve as a learning curve for the auto manufacturing industry. Despite the digital advancements, the need for basic physical controls is undeniable. As much as aesthetics matter, functionality should not be compromised for the sake of keeping up with trends.

Manufacturers have to keep monitoring the dynamics in the market. Technologies are changing rapidly, and user experiences are continually shifting. Thus, balancing digital advancement and user experience should be prioritized.

Even with autonomous driving becoming a reality soon, the core operations of a vehicle will still find a place in physical controls. Until technology can perfectly replicate the feedback and ease of these controls, it remains necessary to keep them around.

Small changes like tuning radio channels, adjusting temperatures, and modifying driving modes will always be easiest when executed with a simple button or knob. Manufacturers should understand that swiftly performed operations can often take a backseat when having to navigate through numerous digital procedures.