I have been questioning for a few years now how & why products are allowed to subverted us. Primarily I have been thinking about the retail experience of purchasing a TV. I still gase in amazement at how we purchase TVs, were so concerned with size, picture quality, the flatness and thickness of a TV. Its fare enough right? Hang-on, really the retail experience should revolve around the remotes that were all slaves to right?
In his book Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge (2007, p239) cites David Liddle’s (Xerox) description of the remote “We interviewed some people with beautiful and very elaborate new media systems who were quite discouraged and quite unhappy with them. The solution from the manufacturers of consumer products was to produce the most dumfounding, enormous remote controls. Thirty buttons was not a large number for those controls. There was a period of suppression of the adoption of the beat of this technology simply because it was too complicated to use.” Below is a solution to make remotes easier. Photo by Nicolas Zurcher.
An exemplary example of how we can over coming these complexities was introduced to me by Rama Gheerawo (Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design) where Tom Stables (Royal College of Art) design an approach to the problem of older citizens not being able to watch TV due to the complexities of their remotes. Video link below. My challenge to retail stores would be to show us the remote and let us change channels to gauge how appropriate the remote is for us, over glossy screens and thin boxes.