GPS gripes

Today I had a minor annoyance with the UI of GPS systems — both the OEM versions in car dashboards as well as handheld and smartphone GPS.  Why is it that in almost every GPS system, you can’t get an instant reroute around a road that’s blocked off?

It seems that in the quest to build the simplest UI possible for getting the directions, the UI forchanging them suffered. I shouldn’t have to pull over and change the mode from shortest time to avoidall highways just to get around one blocked off section of one highway.

If anyone knows of a GPS device / app that gets this right, I’d love to know about it — I haven’t tried them all.

Nevertheless, this is a great lesson in UI development.  While certain features are more crucial in the sense of being used frequently, others are more crucial when you think about failure modes.  Case in point: driving on a highway and having your route blocked demands a simple action to get around it.  This is important to remind myself when I start designing a product for real people to use.