The discussion between Martin Fowler and Elliotte Rusty Harold on Humane vs. Minimalist approach for collection interfaces has already spawned sufficient debate over all the factors. However, Elliotte used a bizarre analogy between remote controls and class interfaces and for some reason this comparison bothered me. Then, I thought "Hey, there might be something to learn from the remote control". So, here is yet another perspective on the issue:
OK, first a quick review of my history of media center remotes:
- First there was the remote - cool
- Then came the the features with buttons - I started making purchase decisions based on which remote had the most buttons - ahhhhh
- Then came the multi-purpose buttons with special modes - more features!?
- Then came the other components w/ more remotes - hmmm??
- Then I could not find the remotes - Oh, I can tape them all together!?
- Then I noticed that the controls all had different shapes of buttons with different layouts and different functionality - hmmm??
- Then I realized that I didn't understand most of the buttons - what language were these guys speaking - not mine???
- Then I eventually remembered only the buttons I use - I still can't find the stupid remotes.
- Then Apple introduces front row that provides a new construct (easily accessable menus) for finding features - now they are talking my language
- Then I got rid of most of my remotes - they are reduced, but I would prefer having just one!
Note: This may not directly reflect my own or any actual history or occurences.
- I hate searching for remotes - I can never remember where I put it or what I called it - they should always be where I want them
- Lots of remotes are not good - one remote is better
- I don't have a real issue with buttons as long as their behavior is predictable and work similar to other buttons
- I hate having to press different buttons to achieve my goal - I confuse easily and have a poor memory
The laguage should be mine (the guy who wants to be entertained) - not the feature happy designer who wants me to press each and every button
- I mostly like to be ignorant of the small details of how the remote/component works - details should not be in my face every time I use it
- Remote should not require large context switch - it should just do what I need
Really creative products, that make my life better, seem to ignore old rules and boil the design essence down to the consumers ultimate goals.
I guess I prefer minimal controls/classes with intuitive interfaces that don't distract me from what I am doing.