While physical buttons add to the clutter, they are easier and safer to use
In a development that can attract both likes and dislikes, Tata Motors has removed the physical buttons for the infotainment system controls. These buttons were located just below the central air vents. They were offered with the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is available with Nexon XZ variant and above.
The physical buttons that have been removed include Home, Favourites, Back, Smartphone and Next / Previous. The rotary dials for volume and tuner have also been removed. The available space now has the ‘Nexon’ logo. The functions of these physical buttons have been integrated into the touchscreen, making it a completely digital experience.
Physical buttons vs. digital – which one’s better?
As far as aesthetics are concerned, physical buttons can increase the clutter. This is especially true if the buttons are jutting out. Visually, physical buttons would look much better if seamlessly embedded in the background layer. However, if we consider practical aspects, physical buttons are far easier to use. In case of a car, they are also much safer.
With practise, one can easily remember the position of the physical buttons. These can be used without taking the eyes off the road. In comparison, using the touchscreen for these functions will require the user to look at the screen. Even if it’s just momentarily, it’s never advisable to take the eyes off the road.
The other option is to use voice commands to access the media functions of the infotainment system. However, that too requires more effort in comparison to simply pushing a button on the dashboard.
For customers who are keen to improve the aesthetics of their car, the removal of physical buttons would be a welcome development. For folks who prefer practicality, the physical media buttons will surely be missed.
To ensure that customers get exactly what they want, it would have been better if there was an option to choose between physical buttons vs. an entirely digital experience. Things like digital controls and voice commands have their attraction initially. However, in the long run, preferences shift to things that are easier to operate.
Carmakers have been known to revisit their decisions based on customer feedback. If there are considerable negative inputs about the removal of physical buttons on Nexon, it is possible that the company may re-introduce it. We will have to wait and see how the market responds to this latest update on Nexon.