Up is down, down is up.

Another user interface blunder in the Mazda 3 – sometimes, down is up, and up is down.

When shifting the gears, you pull “down” or towards you to shift up to a higher gear. This actually makes intuitive sense, as it’s how a ratchet shifter works. However, nothing else with an up-down interface seems to work this way. The volume up-down control is as you expect, of course, and right next to it is the seek/forward/back rocker. To go to a higher track, you have to press up. Inconsistent, much?

Then there’s the strange misapplication of up and down in relation to navigating folders on an MP3 CD. The FOLDER button has an up/down arrow on it, as opposed to a fast forward/rewind arrow. Down is basically in the position of rewind, but when I think of a folder hierarchy, I don’t think of down as rewind. In alphabetical order, down means going 1, 2, 3, 4, et cetera – or going forwards. Up is going backwards.

That is, unless you use ascending order, which Mazda apparently does.

I’m sure this is not a Mazda-only problem. Many cars and other platforms have these same kind of issues. Is it because the people making them just don’t care? Or is it just dogma piled on from down high? If I could design user interface…

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