sanjy009 wrote:The unanimous winner of the 'bad' design was the TV remote control- everyone attending agreed they are complicated, difficult to use, overloaded with features and just generally poor.
Sure, remote controls indeed appear to be an afterthought in terms of their design and usability. However, I think the remote control itself is partly to blame. The real problem I feel is the lack of a clear link for the user between the product and its remote control. Anyone who has ever tried changing settings in a TV or DVD menu probably knows what I mean. TV's user interfaces are horrible and have no apparent relation with the buttons (and their labels) on your remote. It reminds me of the remote controls in the 90s which had this separate lid to cover certain buttons which you only had to use every now and then. It makes the remote LOOK easier to use due to less visual clutter. Great solution I think, what ever happened to that?
Stuffed Vulture wrote:
This picture shows that in a DIY way! I've seen that pic in one of Donald Norman's books.
simon_four_fingers wrote:The buttons are small and hard to see and you have to look at it (I mean like study them) to navigate it. There are a number of nice touch screen remotes on the higher end market, but what would make a larger impact would be something more like a wii mote. Using a point and click interface and maybe very basic movement gestures to control some other minor functions. I'm seeing something like the ps3 home screen and the wii navigation ability in the future.
Agreed. We all know how difficult it is to operate them in the dark although one of my remotes has glow in the dark buttons, which helps but is not sufficient. Also, all buttons on a remote basically have the same shape and topography which makes it even more harder. Why not make their shapes more distinct so you can feel what the button should do? Or perhaps give dedicated areas to common operations (channel, volume, etc.) on the side of the RC? Or using natural gestures like simon_four_fingers suggests.
The reality is that each home is cluttered with perhaps 3-5 remote controls which control one product each. Although I agree that each remote control should be optimized in terms of design and usability to create a coherent UX we cannot expect manufacturers to come with a remote that can control all other products (from other brands) in your home as well. That is why solutions such like the Harmony exists.
Of all the remote controls I've ever used I found this to be the best:
Ergonomic in my hand, easy to pick up from a table because of the curved sides, clear dedicated areas for volume and channel right underneath your thumb, and very limited controls.