Dishwashers used to have big control panels on the front, but that is changing. A large number of dishwashers now conceal the controls along the top edge of the door. Concealed controls, or as they are called by the industry "fully integrated", are accessible only when the door is open. Some models have what is called "partially integrated" controls, which usually means that some sort of indicator light or a start / stop button is visible.
The chief advantage to integrated controls is the sleek look it provides. If you plan to use cabinet panels on your appliances to make them blend with your cabinets, then concealed controls will help you take this look all the way.
If you like the positive feel of the mechanical controls on some front panel dishwashers, you may miss the lack of feedback from the touch buttons found on most concealed controls. The electronic or light-touch buttons don't provide the sensory feedback to give you the confidence the button has been pushed. However, giving up the positive click of a knob for the sleek look of these dishwashers is not all bad.
For a list of manufacturers who offer dishwashers with integrated controls, see below.