The buttons are back in town (or cars, thankfully)
A growing number of automakers are backpedaling away from the huge, complex touchscreens that have infested dashboard design over the past 15 years. Buttons and knobs are coming back.
David Zipper - Slate - "The Glorious Return of a Humble Car Feature"
When I first saw big 'ol screens coming out, I was excited about them. I love technology and technological advancements; look at how futuristic the car's interior is! As time went on, though, and I got to experience these interfaces in various vehicles, I realized how much I disliked them. Constantly having to verify that I completed my task was quite frustrating.
The final nail was when we rented a Tesla for our trip to California. That interface was maddening. Combine their obscure choices with blocking out CarPlay, and I was out. (Side note: the only good thing about the Tesla experience was its oomph. Beyond that, it felt like an overpriced experience in arrogant minimalism, and I used to be a big Tesla fan.)
Give me knobs, dials, switches, something tactile I can fiddle with without thinking.
I'm not a total Luddite, though; I don't mind hooking up my phone to CarPlay in my 2018 Crosstrek with a modest 4" infotainment screen so I can hear messages come in or use voice commands for navigation — but that's key: voice navigation. I'm not looking at the screen, Siri is reading it out to me, and it does a pretty good job of it. Most car manufacturers have been developing voice assistants instead of leveraging existing tech. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, they have been missing the mark.
Also, I can't say the UI & UX of most infotainment centers has been great, anyway.
Bring back the buttons.