Mercedes-Benz' Big Infotainment Screens Explained By Chief Designer

Technology / 16 Comments

"The bigger the screen, the more you can do."

The touchscreen has become a common feature in the modern motorcar. While most vehicles have a fairly simple setup with controls for the infotainment system, it's become de rigeur for automakers to create increasingly complicated and lavish setups. Take the Hyperscreen found in the new Mercedes-Benz EQS, for instance. Three large screens are housed under a single piece of glass, the largest being the 17.7-inch central display.

Is this overkill? Many would say yes, but the automaker's head of UX design seems to disagree. Klaus Frenzel told Car Design News that Mercedes-Benz is all for large touchscreens, explaining that the setup enables greater opportunities for the user.

"The screen is a like a playing field, the bigger the screen, the more you can do. The visual part is not all of it, the rest is beyond the's the combination that makes the difference," remarked Frenzel.

Mercedes-Benz Mercedes

But it's not just as simple as shoehorning a massive screen into the interior and calling it a day.

Careful consideration is needed, he explains, noting that automakers must pay attention to things such as voice interactions, sound, and graphics. "Just a big screen delivers no experience," he added. Together, these create an enjoyable experience for the occupants.

"If you watch a movie without the sound, suddenly the film is kind of dead, even though the screen is the same. Everything together delivers the holistic experience."

UX design isn't easy, though. Communication is essential to a successful team, and Frenzel notes the UX and UI teams liaise constantly to ensure flawless touchscreen operation. Vehicle stylists are also kept in the loop, as the vehicle needs to have a holistic feel both inside and out. With the EQ range of cars, the grille mirrors the screen, for instance.

2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Navigation System Mercedes-Benz 2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Central Control Panel Mercedes-Benz Mercedes
2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Navigation System
2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Central Control Panel

But there's one thing that's all too easy to forget - ease of use. Frenzel notes developers have to pay particular attention to screen ergonomics; designers may find it easy to navigate myriad menus and submenus, but customers may not find it intuitive.

"It can be dangerous within a company when developing these things, as staff might think all their customers will be able to understand because they've worked on it for years. They cannot imagine anyone not understanding...[but] if you fly to another city and jump into a rental car, you should be able to start the car in 20 seconds and know how to interact with its most important use cases," added Frenzel.

Still, there is a limit to how far one can go - especially in terms of safety, admits the designer.

2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Central Console Mercedes-Benz

Recently, a Swedish publication conducted an experiment that found touchscreens to be distracting and unsafe. Practical tests showed that an older vehicle with physical controls was safer to operate than even the best systems in modern vehicles. This is supported by Germany's ADAC, which endorses Mazda's touchscreen-free infotainment system as the safest.

Hopefully, the large touchscreen obsession is a fad. Many experts in the industry agree, with BMW's Head of Interior Design hoping it becomes a thing of the past. "I'm personally convinced that these black glass surfaces in the car interiors…we will leave that behind, sooner or later," said Matthias Junghanns.

He's not alone. DS Automobiles' Thierry Metroz didn't mince his words, referring to the trend as "a little bit stupid." Frankly, we agree. He added that DS hopes to "delete all the screens in our future interiors." Hopefully, others follow suit.

2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Rearward Vision Mercedes-Benz
Source Credits: Car Design News

Join The Discussion


2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Central Control Panel 2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Navigation System 2022-2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan Central Console

Related Cars

To Top