• Nov 7th 2011 at 10:00AM
  • 62
Ford is attempting to improve the MyFord Touch system. ... Ford is attempting to improve the MyFord Touch system. (Ford)
In an attempt to rescue its image, Ford is rolling out improvements to its MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems, hoping the upgrades will make the systems easier to use.

The upgrades will come on a thumb drive that customers will plug into their car. About 45 minutes later, the touch-screen system that controls the radio, heater, GPS and telephone will have an all-new look, and should work faster.

In their rush to get MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch out to customers, it has seemed Ford was more wowed with how the system looked than how it operated. Critics have said the systems are too complicated to use, but Ford says their customer base loves the systems.

Still, the company needs to make changes. Influential outside critics are downgrading Ford's vehicles based on the clunky, complicated designs.

Consumer Reports has slammed Ford for the system based on their own reviews and on consumer complaints. The screen have been confusing to use, Consumer Reports says, requiring people to spend too much time staring at the screen figuring out what to do, rather than looking at the road.

The screens also have a tendency to freeze, making it impossible to control anything in the car, like defrosting windows or turning on the heat.

The thumb drives will be sent early next year to about 250,000 customers, who can perform the updates themselves. Future iterations of MyFord Touch will come with a center knob and two side buttons, making it even more intuitive. But those types of changes can't easily be made to the current system, which is primarily a smooth touch screen, but comes with knobs for volume and fan speed. Customers have told Ford they like knobs for radio volume and tuning, so those will be coming on future models.

Another problem the company won't be able to change on current models: The location of the emergency flashers on the Ford Explorer and Ford Edge. In current models, there is a touch-sensitive button for the emergency flashers is located right under the touch screen. Many people end up resting their hand under the screen to activate the radio or heater, and while doing that end up turning on the emergency flashers. In future models, the button will be changed to a button that must be physically pushed to start the flashers.

Graydon Reitz, Ford's director of electronics engineering, said that despite complaints, the systems are among the top reasons consumers list for buying Ford cars.

But soon after they rolled out MyFord Touch, Ford recognized it needed to make some changes.

"The screens weren't as intuitive as they needed to be," he said.

Jennifer Brace, a user interface design engineer for Ford, said the changes should make the system easier to use. The design is cleaner, and buttons that drivers need to push more often are displayed more prominently.

The system seems to adopt a tenet of basic web design: Putting controls in the same place from page to page, so users don't have to go hunting around each time they change pages to figure out what to do.

And it is faster, which was clear when using the current MyFord Touch next to the new system. There is a lag in the current system, which makes users feel like system didn't feel the driver push the screen, so people often keep hitting the screen out of frustration. The upgrades will make the system move much faster – almost twice as fast -- eliminating the urge to keep hitting the screen.

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      • 3 Years Ago
      Bought a Ford Edge in August and love it - love the Ford Touch - if you read the manual and visit the Ford web site you should be able to use it without any more trouble than learning to use the new IPhone or IPad (which also had some miner adjustments that had to be fixed). This is my third Ford Auto purchase - I still have my 2003 Explorer (Over 150,000 miles) without any major problems and runs like new. Had a 1994 Explorer which had over 200,000 miles on it when I sold it and was still running good. My husband is on his second F150. Had a 1998 F150 with over 200,000 miles on it and sold it to the Assistant Service Manager at the Ford dealership where he had it serviced and bought his new 2010 F150 last year. Again the 1998 truck never had a problem and was running so good that he had several people interested in buying if from him. Use to hate Fords until I owned one - now wouldn't buy anything else.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      • 3 Years Ago
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        Why the **** is this "LL" continued to spam. This has been going on for months, and reporting does no good. Maybe if EVERYONE reports LL, they'll kill the account!
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      I tried to change the radio station while driving down the expressway and accidentally hit the seat eject button by mistake and I was flung threw the sunroof and down a grassy hill. But besides that, I've had no problems at all with this Ford.
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      The 2004-2008 Ford F-150 has defective cam phasers in the engine (Ford has a TSB on this). When my cam phasers broke it sent debries all over the engine there for destroying the engine and cat converter (4 cylinders misfire and a pitson blew). This happened just after warranty expired, the new engine and cat converter cost me $ 9,900. This new engine ran smoother then when the defective engine had 10,000 miles on it. Since even Ford acknowledges this defective engine they should pay for the new engine. I or my family will never buy a Ford again!
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM is the one that need to resuscitate their reputation and image after crawling to Obama on their hands and knees with their hat in their hand begging for a handout !!! They still make junk cars and trucks so let them go ahead and build their 50 million dollar plant in Mexico ,it just shows where their priorities lie !!
      • 3 Years Ago
      What an incredibly stupid article! Ford is on top and will stay there.
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