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Navigation System: To Touch a Screen or Push a Button?

During May 2007 VehicleVoice R&D Center conducted a survey of panel members concerning preferences for Navigation Systems.
One of the primary questions was whether the ideal navigation system should it have a touch screen or toggle buttons? Among automakers there is a split of opinion concerning whether touch screen or toggle buttons are preferred. Several makers simplistically conclude that a toggle button system is preferred because you don’t have to touch the screen and leave unsightly fingerprints on the screen. Most makers, however, have opted for a touch screen system because it is more intuitive and direct to use.
Strong Preference for Touch Screen
What do VehicleVoice panelists prefer? The question about preference was asked of vehicle owners (both navigation system owners and those interested in purchasing a navigation system). Overwhelmingly, the answer is Touch Screen – 83%. Less than a quarter of the respondents wanted a toggle/rotary/push button system – 22%.


Toggle Button


Touch Screen

How do you prefer to enter data in a Navigation System?
Touch screen = 83%
Toggle/rotary/push buttons = 22%
Other = 4%

Data Entry by Voice Activation Preferred by About a Quarter
If they wanted something else what would it be? A few would be happy with a combination of both touch screen and buttons. A few would also like to operate their navigation system by voice commands.
Other methods to enter data in a Navigation System
Both/combination = 26%
Voice data entry = 23%
Either = 10%
Remote control = 6%
Other = 35%
Directions Preferred by Both Voice and Display
How do the users want to receive directions? Most respondents want to receive their driving directions both by voice and visual display – 75%. None of those surveyed only want voice. A few are interested more in “mainly display” – 18%.
How do you prefer to get directions?
Voice and display equal = 75%
Mainly display = 18%
Mainly voice = 4%
Display only = 3%
Voice only = 0%

1 Comment

  • Bob| August 19, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Someday, it should become feasible to have an array of buttons with little LCD displays in their centers, so that their functions change according to the needs of the system. A hierarchy of specificity could be observed, so that some buttons could remain fixed, some changing only for broader category-of-command changes, and others being screen-specific. This would provide the flexibility-advantage of touch screens while preserving the easy-to-find-while-driving advantages of distinct, tactile buttons. Over time, many functions could be performed without visual distraction.

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