Control buttons must have been designed by engineers - Kia Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Control buttons must have been designed by engineers

Full disclosure, I am an engineer/programmer and the way these control buttons work is what happened when I designed something without consulting others. We got a much better result when we would put the general public in front of the equipment and see if it makes sense to them. As it is, here are some of the control buttons for the Sportage:

Auto Hold - Turning on puts grey words on the screen, engaged puts green words on the screen, nothing is displayed for OFF. Defaults to OFF when car turned off.
4WD - Turning on puts green icon on screen, nothing is displayed for OFF. Mode is maintained since the button is a latching type. I think this the only latching button in the car.
Parking Sensors - Defaults to ON and turns ON by itself once car is put back into drive. No display information on any screen but the button has a light on it.
Drive Mode - Maintains ECO and Normal mode between starts, SPORT reverts to Normal mode when restarting the car. ECO and SPORT modes are displayed to the operator, nothing is displayed for Normal mode.
Lane Notification - Turning on puts grey icon on the screen and green icon when in use, much like Auto Hold. But mode is maintained between car starts unlike Auto Hold.
BSD - Turning on or off gives temporary notification, and mode is maintained between car starts. But otherwise nothing is displayed to the user other than the button has a light on it like the Parking Sensor button.

These are just some examples. I realize that they perform different functions (some safety and some not) and may need a different way of working, but how can it possibly be that no two buttons work the same?! My boss would have sent us back to redesign if we designed controls so different from each other.

The reason this seems so odd is that something like BSD or Lane Notification can be accidentally hit with a knee when getting out of the car, and it will never turn back on again or let the user know it is disabled. In the case of Lane Notification there is a missing icon, but just an unlit button for BSD. I would guess there are many owners out there with their buttons in a random state and they have no idea what is set to what.

It would have been nice to be able to customize how these controls work (i.e. always default BSD to on when turning on the car, etc) but even without this, the buttons should have been designed the same or very similarly to each other make them easy to use and understand.


Last edited by kinglerch; 03-29-2019 at 02:28 PM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 06:26 PM
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There is a logic to this and it relates to people with no technical background or capability. Specifically, they are designed to be reset if most users expect them to be in a certain state when they start the car. Remember that many cars are driven by more than one person. So, it makes sense that Auto Hold and parking sensors reset when you start the car. Mode is maintained on Lane notification and BSD because those are things that make noises and irk many drivers (like my wife). Imagine having to turn off all of those beeps every time you start the car. As for drive mode, "Sport" is a special case when you want more power for entering a freeway or passing. If I'm driving the car and put it in sport, it is not what my wife might expect when she drives the car next. In other words, they are designed properly for average, non-technical people who will just drive the car without using any of those buttons. It may not make logical sense for those of us with a technical background -- which is why engineers are almost never used to make decisions for average people. I was a general manager who managed all functions including marketing, customer service, product design (with engineers), manufacturing and distribution. The product design people almost never understood user interfaces and always complained about inconsistencies. I remember decades ago working with very smart IBM engineers who could not understand the advantages of modern user interfaces or the impact on product acceptance and product/concept fit. They were so ingrained with technical consistency that they could not accept virtually any user interface improvements that were inconsistent -- like what Microsoft and Apple were doing at the time. Because of this, they were never really successful with consumer products. We showed them quantitative user interface research and they just would not believe the results even though confidence levels were at the 99th percentile.

Having been on both sides of this issue, I can tell you the control buttons make perfect sense from an average consumer perspective. Thus, the control buttons were NOT designed by engineers, but by putting actual consumers behind the wheel and determining the results. Engineers would have had much more consistency and made the average driver very angry....
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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I want to disagree, but you are probably right. Maybe for the general population the above mix of button types and functionality makes some sort of sense.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 05:29 AM
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One of the very few things I wish was different in my Sportage. I would like to be in sport mode most of the time but forget to change the setting. Why cant this be on permanent until I change it. Would like auto hold to be on all the time but forget to change it, again why cant this be on all the time until I change it?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by floplop View Post
One of the very few things I wish was different in my Sportage. I would like to be in sport mode most of the time but forget to change the setting. Why cant this be on permanent until I change it. Would like auto hold to be on all the time but forget to change it, again why cant this be on all the time until I change it?
It is like that because you might not be the next person to get in and start it.

1. All sport mode does is change throttle tip in and adjust shift points. It adds zero power.
2. Imagine being a service person or lot boy who is unfamiliar with the vehicle, not expecting the throttle to be extremely twitchy when trying to pull into a service bay or move just a few inches for some reason and end up plowing into a lift or another person....
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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As the owner of the vehicle, you should have the ability to turn off or on whatever function you want, including Auto Hold, Drive Mode, Heated Seats, ISG, etc and have it remain that way the next time you get into the vehicle
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 09:24 AM
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I do not believe Sport mode behaves like that for any safety reason. I believe it is to punish people who want to “waste” gas.

The others come to a philosophical difference between whether an indicator is for re-assurance or alarm. To me (a controls engineer) I tend towards wanting indicators to be for abnormal conditions. My wife’s car has a little yellow symbol which is on all the time when BSD is active. To me that it the normal condition. The light should be off. If someone disable the system, then there should be a warning indicator.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcguy View Post
It is like that because you might not be the next person to get in and start it.

1. All sport mode does is change throttle tip in and adjust shift points. It adds zero power.
2. Imagine being a service person or lot boy who is unfamiliar with the vehicle, not expecting the throttle to be extremely twitchy when trying to pull into a service bay or move just a few inches for some reason and end up plowing into a lift or another person....
Sports Mode also affects the steering and transaxle system.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SSportage View Post
Sports Mode also affects the steering and transaxle system.
the key point here, is it doesn't change the capabilities of the vehicle at all, only the amount of control input required for a given amount of steering, throttle etc.... in no way does it truthfully add performance or grip in any way. What it DOES do, is dramatically increase the percentage of input for a given movement of said control, which can and does lead to extreme results, not always as intended.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 08:09 PM
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All of us would like to customize our car EXACTLY as we would want it. However, when designing product functionality, you have to consider the entire customer base. If 1/3rd of buyers have multiple drivers with different needs (i.e., wife likes to drive in Sport mode and husband in Eco mode), then you can't really allow that functionality to be a choice for the other 2/3rds of buyers. Imagine a portion of those 2/3rds going into dealers because their car always starts in Sport mode or the parking sensors don't work simply because the other driver set-up the car differently. Then service for all of us would increase in price because of the extra time the service people have to spend on this. Remember that we, on the forums, are the enthusiasts and a very small minority of drivers.

Recently, my hot tub was running too much and didn't seem to turn off. I'm pretty good at reading manuals and doing tech stuff, but had difficulty understanding why it was running so much after years of it running a different way. Well, it seems that filter run time is a hidden programmable option and one of my grandkids, using the hot tub, played with the buttons in such a way that the hidden function was changed from 2 hour filter time to 16 hour filter time. Whenever I tried to check this, I could not turn off the hot tub from running. I tried turning it off during the day, during the night. I tried turning it off at the breaker and turning it back on. I thought it was a problem with either the thermostat or the circuit board. I knew about programming the filter time, but thought that it never related what was happening to filter time. So I called a service person, paid the minimum service fee, and he fixed it in about three seconds by going through a hidden button sequence. In that case, I actually wished the unit would have reset upon turning it off at the breaker back to the initial setting of 2. And I'm a tech freak!!!!!

This is exactly why some of the settings on your car resets upon turning it back on. Having options may be good for you personally, but would cause havoc with a good number of other people. Now if you went to a custom car maker and had a one-of-a-kind car with programmable functionality that wouldn't affect anyone else, I think you should be able to change virtually anything. But not with a mass consumer product..
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