Deconstructing Product Design
I like the Tivo remote a lot. Because the Tivo has such a good on-screen channel guide, you rarely have to use the numbers on the remote. Because the numbers are not as important, they don’t have to be as large as on a typical remote. This allows room for other buttons to be larger and more prominent. I love the emphasis on the pause button, and other video speed controls. However, I think that the green and red thumbs are overly prominent, and that the jump back button could be larger. Also, the functionality of the Live TV button is confusing to understand when you have two tuners.
This is another one of those things where most of the companies in the world refuse to spend any extra cash on a certain thing. And then some upstart comes along and actually gives a damn and realizes that Usability Actually Matters and brings us something that, while of course not perfect, sure sucks a whole heck of a lot less than what we’d otherwise be stuck with. (I mean, heck, have you ever seen a Sony PS2 DVD remote control? Simply jabbing a “point-ed stick” in your eye would be as much fun as using /that/ abomination.)
The beauty of the TiVo remote is that it reimagined the remote not just for ergonomic ease, but also for the new behaviors that the TiVo system itself engenders. The prominence of the pause button is the most obvious example, but the 8-second rewind button–just enough to hear a missed line of dialog–is pure design genius. It takes a small need (“What did she just say?”) and finds a beautiful solution for it.
I think it doesn’t have enough buttons. Ergonomics? Seriously!!!
Don’t like it:
Looks the same at both ends (should look different) — sometimes catch myself trying to fast forward (without looking at the remote), and I’m catch myself pointing the wrong end, so, end up fast forwarding backwards.
The “clear” and “last” buttons are so often used that they should be towards the top end of the remote. The way it is, I have to hold the remote in my left hand and press those buttons with my right hand.
The centre yellow button should be raised so as to distinguish its feel from the surrounding black ring. Because they feel the same, sometimes when I try to “play” without looking at the remote, I find 10 seconds later, that I really have pressed “pause”.
The location of the last button is terrible… Impossible to use with one hand…
I hate it..
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