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Wait, what.

Whenever I try to watch a movie it’s usually too much of a hassle for me to even bother with. I understand there are four different remotes necessary for my viewing pleasure (TV, cable box, surround sound, DVD player). However, the remotes have way too many buttons, options and settings. I also never receive any feedback from any of the devices. Every time I get everything set the way I want it to work, I can never figure out how I even did it. These designers failed in providing me excellently mapped visual devices.

Larissa

Comments

Larissa
Reply

Sorry this photo is so large. Not sure why..

Bryan
Reply

This is brutal, I was close to posting something similar with my roommate’s set-up. My TV is older (so ancient, a 2004 model…) but works fine, has a single remote, and a built-in DVD player – works great for me! This is an assault on the mind.

Joel Skelton
Reply

Whoa. This is why I stick with single-celled specimens. I just watch DVDs on my laptop. No remotes to buy batteries for, no confusion and no mess. Again, as I’ve mentioned in Bryan’s post, time and technology work in tandem: The more time passes, the more technological tools are at our disposal, feigning simplicity.

Kurt
Reply

I think this is precisely what many Americans – and others – ask themselves on a regular occasion. Why even bother?

Can you imagine how successful a simple, easy-to-use and self-explanatory remote control would be?

Erin Hutson
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I like how each remote is laid out the same, and putting them all side-by-side really illuminates that. Power button top right, logo bottom center, etc. Yet, everyone struggles with this design! You’re definitely not the only one. You’d think remote controllers would begin to get better; I’m betting Apple will make one with inherent usability, they seem to do that well. I also think the logo for the third remote (from the left) is ironic: my eyes would become all swirly and I would get all confused simply looking at the remote!!

Larissa
Reply

I failed to mention the concepts of feed back and mapping were from “The Psychopathology of Everday Things” reading!

Lauren
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Larissa, I feel your pain. Luckily I don’t have this bad of an issue at my house I only have two remotes but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a friends house and they have 18 remotes lying there and leave me in the room to guess for myself only to come back into the room and scream, “NO NOT THAT ONE!”

I won’t even begin to tell you about my frustration when I was babysitting once and the kid wanted to watch toy story but when I went to turn it on they had 5 remotes and a giant flat screen booby trap to get through first.

Kelly
Reply

I can’t believe I didn’t think about this as my image for this week’s illustration. This is purely a PERFECT example of the paradox of technology. In an effort to make life easier so we can view our new fancy flat screen TVs, the updated remotes have instead created added frustration and obstacles thus restricting us to do so. I know whenever I get home from work and just want to watch 20 minutes of TV while I eat dinner, I’m typically done eating by the time I figure out how to work all of the remotes.

Ivonna
Reply

I miss the old remotes with just the Power button and the numbers. I agree with Joel, I use my laptop when it comes to watching movies just to avoid what it takes to do it on a TV. I think this is an example of a bad conceptual model. We operate remotes the way we’re told “Press this or that”, without really knowing why.

Ben
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that looks like it could be an unwanted head ache, every time you turn the tv one haha. I lost my remote ages ago and i just get up and press buttons on the tv and stereo. It seems like both of us need a new universal remote.

Casey
Reply

Perfect illustration of this concept Larissa! Its funny because, we all can relate to this dilemma. I wanted to point out going along with the idea of feedback and mapping that I think designers were trying to create a better sense of “mapping” when they invented the universal remote. The hard part with the universal remote is that I can’t seem to figure out how to make it universal! The set-up is still not user friendly enough where I can easily figure it out…guess the electronics industry still has a long way to go on this one…

Liz
Reply

Walking into a home with this remote setup makes my brain hurt a little bit. The invention of the single, universal remote was the best thing to happen to entertainment setups that I can remember. Even the two remotes in my living room are enough to frustrate me. The volume only works on the Samsung remote, and the channel buttons only work on the Dish remote. The only positive I glean from all the remotes is that all the power buttons are red – the only thing I can always identify!

Elizabeth
Reply

I think this is a great illustration for this concept. As a designer, I go by the everyday concepts that “less is more” and “simplicity is key”. However it seems as though designers of remotes think the exact opposite. Too many buttons is confusing, although they may look visually interesting, they are just too complicated and quite frankly give me a headache! I think they need to eliminate about half of those and then they would have a successful product.

Lisa
Reply

Larissa,

This is the exact image that I thought of as I was reading the chapter! My remotes are even worse! Earlier this year we use to use my brother-in-law’s play station to stream Netflix to our television. As someone who does not play video games, I had a very difficult time trying to figure out how to use the game controller as a remote control to transition to Netflix. My husband and my nephew had no problem but I couldn’t get myself to figure out which buttons did what! Needless to say I didn’t watch too many movies. Then we got Apple TV a few months ago and the remote was way to simplistic and sleek. It sounds crazy but it was almost a guessing game (but not quite as bad as the PS controller!)

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