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Buttons Are Back

Or Why Touch Screens Everywhere Is Dangerous

18 May 2023

When I was growing up I wanted to be an astronaut. I played a vintage game on my MacSE called "Orbiter" which basically was a recreation of the Space Shuttle cockpit, complete with switches, buttons, and readouts. I love the explicitness of those interfaces from the Apollo module and airplane cockpits. 

But over the past few years it's become a rush to making everything a touch screen. Not only is this ludicroulsy dangerous, but the ease of moving something on a screen vs a physical switch means that muscle memory could go out the window with a system upgrade. 

Since you can't touch it, you have to divert your eyes from the road to acquire the target and then move to touch it. We know what happens with distracted driving, this would only be worse. 

There's a reason so many controls have moved to physical buttons on the steering wheel. Your hands are already there, you don't even have to move to acquire the switch. 

UX is not just about how sexy it looks when being presented in a keynote. It's about real-world use and in many cases, these new screen-driven cars (and I'd argue the Dragon Capsule as well) are just ripe for an error to occur. 

I'm super glad to see this change coming through.