The Volt's user interface is a piece of shit

The Volt is a technological marvel in some ways. Granted, some of its features were implemented poorly. But nothing is as undeniably pathetic as its shitty UI.


It starts with the clusterfuck that is its button panel. I mean, look at this shit. The home button, arguably the most important navigational aid, is tucked in there somewhere with a tiny-ass icon.

The drive mode button is right above the master switch to turn the car the fuck off. Some people actually sell plastic covers to protect the car from accidentally shutting down because you wanted to switch to sport mode. No, really:

Image Credit: soundmike/gm-volt.com
I can't find a rhyme or reason to the arbitrary placement of the buttons. And I tried:


The radio controls are all over the place. The driver gets to control the temperature while the passenger chooses the fan speed. The most important buttons (yellow) retreated in fear as they are surrounded by everything else, including the lone telephony button that didn't know where else to go.

In fact, why is this a mix between capacitive and tactile buttons? Did they have two competing UI designers and each got half of the control panel to work with? Why would you even use capacitive buttons in a car where the driver should be able to press a button without having to look at it unless it's meant to be configurable like in a Tesla?

The capacitive buttons are also easily pressed inadvertently. Several times I turned on the butt heater while meddling with the nearby controls and didn't notice it until my ass was on fire ten minutes later. 

But that was just the buttons. Let's have a look at the actual display.


Here's the home screen. Say I want to use my wife's phone for music playback because she has better music on her device. Well, easy peasy. Just press the Phone button:


So we went through six fucking screens to toggle phones. I would have taken another cryptic capacitive button on this train wreck of a button panel over that.

Then we have this awesome consistency. See in the pictures above how there's always a home button on the top left on the screen for easy navigation? Yeah, about that...


Oh, look! The energy screens have tabs for their subsections (Power Flow / Charging / Energy Info) instead of the standard navigation buttons, because why would you want to go back to the home screen. Well, if you must, you can spend some time and find that stupid home button deep inside this damn forest of buttons. While you're driving.

What's even more concerning is that the Volt is supposed to be this high-tech vehicle with the latest and greatest tech, and I remember reviews mentioning the "futuristic" control panel. If this is supposed to be the future of user interface design, I'll take a one-way ticket to the Stone Age.

My guess is that Chevrolet spent all the money on developing the impressive drivetrain that they ran out of cash and hired some random guy who happened to be loitering outside their office to design the interface. And they paid him in booze. Right before he started working.

I haven't tried to operate the UI while on LSD yet, but I'm giving it a shot one of these days. Who knows, it might actually make sense then.

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