Audi A6 Usability

By Deane Barker on April 22, 2005

Details take fun out of new A6: I love James Healey’s car reviews. In this one, he drifts into the realm of user interface design and usability. Here he is trying to set the time on the Audi A6.

That’s Multi Media Interface, Audi’s version of the what-were-they-smoking control absurdity pioneered by BMW’s iDrive. MMI has its own, 255-page how-to manual. The index has no listing for “clock.” Investigative reporting turns up “time setting — 215.”

Page 215 directs the user to first push the “setup” button on the MMI control. Then push the MMI button that corresponds to the word “settings” on the screen. Then pick “time,” push the master control to enter that mode, then turn the knob to change the time. Be sure to back out of the sequence properly or the clock reverts to the previous setting. Makes you want to slap somebody.

If you argue that the clock is seldom reset, you’re missing the bigger point: The logic that hides almost any function beneath layers of choices is flawed logic. The auto industry needs an exorcist to eliminate such thinking.