Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Incremental-decremental (excremental)

I just changed cable providers, and this one has the same UI problem as the last. In both cases, if you view the guide (program menu), the channels start at the top of the screen and are listed in incremental order. That is:
So if you want to see the next channel after you reach the bottom of the screen, you press the down arrow key. This means you are pressing a DOWN command to go UP in number. For example, to go from seeing channel 7 to channel 8, I press DOWN. No problem, really, because the screen scrolls in the direction I indicate.

But if I am actually watching channel 7 and I want to go to channel 8, I press UP. Of course, I habitually press the DOWN button because my frame of reference is the menu screen.

There is a simple solution: They could list programs on the menu screen starting with the top channels and then decrementing. That way DOWN means DOWN no matter what.

But then you start with the specialty and premium channels on the menu and the not the common choices.


The point is that UI design is snarly stuff and not only must you accommodate user models and technical limitations, but sometimes business rules and market objectives as well.

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