Category: developers journal

Rework the Remote controller to Internet age?

Author: Daemon July 10, 2008

So anyways, the story goes as follows. I do not watch much TV, and I was at the seaside for a week, disconnected from TV or internet. When I got home, I turned on the TV using remote, and tried to navigate through programs using that cross-buttons that all remotes feature nowadays.

Cross buttons:

However, I kept pressing Arrow Down in order to go to next channel, resulting in going from channel 1 to channel 0, then 99, then 98, etc …

At first I was thinking that remote is not working, so I tried again. Press Arrow Down – and again I got the wrong effect.

And then it hit me. Since I did not use remote for quite some time, my brain defaulted to the web way of navigation, where all the NEXT options are DOWN in the line, not up.

Think about it. All the lists are written so that the starting option is on the top, and next in line is below it. If you want to access next option in any menu, you must go down (or in case of tabs, right). When you come to think of it, everything we do that needs some sort of ordering or listing is done by putting first option on the top, and then next option goes below. Your shopping lists, your to-do lists, …

So, naturally, when I tried to access next channel in list, I pressed Arrow Down.

Furthermore, if you access your TV’s menu, where you have channel list, and when you are moving on that list, you select next channel by pressing Arrow Down. Pretty inconsistent I must say.

Channels in the TV menu:

My proposal? Rework the cross-buttons functions in this way:

  1. Arrow Up: volume up
  2. Arrow Down: volume down
  3. Arrow Right: next channel, you have a feeling that you are flipping book pages to the right
  4. Arrow Left: previous channel, flipping back

This would actually make more sense considering their function.


    3 thoughts on “Rework the Remote controller to Internet age?”

  • wow
    that does make sense

    get a patent!

  • Hmmm, you made me think man. Can’t remember where or when, but it sounds familiar. I think my parents had remote with the same controls you are proposing. After some googlin’ … I can’t be sure 100% but I think it was a TOMSON TV.

    I even found a patent for this shit but I am not sure – Method for navigating in an electronic broadcast channel periodical dating back from 1999 and submited to Europatents by Thomson gmbh.

  • Ah, the problem in the patent Seven linked is that all 4 direction on the cross are used to navigate channels only, which is really not needed. Pretty obvious they had no idea what Human Interface Design is back at 1999 =)

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