Friday, 7 January 2011

TV Remotes: Part 1

UI design isn't limited to the digital. Take a look at this poor excuse for button layout for a Hitachi TV.

The first thing you'll notice is the big giant "wheel" in the middle, which is how they've chosen to organise the standard channel up/down and volume +/- buttons. It's not really a wheel so much as it is a large 4 directional rocker.
Generally speaking I think you'll probably find that most TV remotes will have two separate vertical 2 way rocker buttons side by side, somewhere near the middle, for these functions.
  You could think of it as a little attempt at innovation, which is always a good thing, regardless as to how well it accomplishes it's goals, however, in this instance, I don't think it's necessarily done anything to improve upon more common designs.
  I don't think there's anything particular about volume controls that mean it's more intuitive to have it laid out horizontally and channel controls vertically. I actually suspect that since it goes against the grain you'd actually end up changing channels when you mean to up the volume a little bit.

I actually reckon there should be an established standard for this kind of thing. Channel Up/Down on the Left, Volume on the right. In the same way that any computer program should have next on the right and previous on the next (for the most part).

However, that's minor compared to this: The other, smaller wheel at the top, which is used for navigating the on screen display for the TV (switching input sources, changing display settings etc).
  To bring up the menu, you press the big button in the middle marked "M". Each setting screen has a "store" option at the bottom to save the options once you've changed them, so you have to select that and then press "OK" (just to the bottom left of the wheel at the top).
  This is the wrong way around! The OK button should be the the large one in the centre as it should be the most prominent. When you go to store your changed settings, the urge is to press the large button in the middle, but unfortunately it acts as a back button once you're within a menu, removing your changes once pressed.
  Being forced to repeat every menu change twice due to familiarity with the other remotes in your house can be frustrating to no end.

There'll be more TV remote evaluation to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment