2010 Volvo XC60: Controls are Great for Blind People
January 29, 2010
Earlier this week I complained about the silly display screen set-up of our Volvo XC60. Today, I will compliment the button lay-out. While complex tasks like controlling an iPod or programming the navigation system are not even close to being this car's forte, most-common tasks are.
For one, common controls literally fall right at hand. I reach my right arm out and the number pad is right there. Second, since it's a telephone-style number pad with the little nub on the 5, you've already been programmed to know which button you're pressing without looking. These Chiclet-like buttons are also separated from each other and raised from the surrounding backing. The volume button and the driver-side climate control knob are close to you and well-separated, while the little fan knob is not only placed by itself, but a unique size. Again, you know what they are without looking.
Directional man is another such control. Want air blowing at your head, press that round thing at top. Want it on your middle, press the middle. There was clearly a lot of thought put into this lay-out.
One of my good friends is blind, and I know he'd appreciate riding shotgun in the XC60. Nothing drives him crazy like an iDrive-like system or a touchscreen where he has no idea how to change a radio channel. He'll often just stab at something, calling up random commands just to piss me off. Come to think of it, maybe the XC60 isn't so great.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 10,705 miles