Building an iPod remote, navigation limitations

15 Aug 2007 - 7:05pm
6 years ago
2 replies
633 reads
Shaun Bergmann
2007

I've got the rather enjoyable task of designing a new interface for remote
control of the iPod.

The hand held remote has the capability for 2 way communication, a full
colour 240 x 320 LCD touchscreen, and the typical up/down/left/right/enter
navigation pad found on just about every remote.

The ability presented to us from the communication protocol gives us the
exact same level of control as one is used to with their actual iPod, so I
originally planned to emulate the exact same functionality the user is used
to, but the hardware of this remote doesn't have a scroll wheel.
The user is therefore presented with an almost identical piece of equipment
and LCD screen listing their iPod content, and a round 'hat' set of
navigation buttons -- their thumb in the same position as it would be on the
iPod

Playlists >
Artists >
Albums >
Songs >
Genres >
Composers >

The problem presented here is that due to the lack of the scroll wheel,
we're using up and down on the navigation keypad to 'scroll' up and down
through the selections. We'd be using the center 'enter' button to select
(same as iPod) and we'd have to use the left button as the 'back out' of the
drilled down hierachy selection.

The functions already present on the iPod for button push events are already
in place in the users handbrain, and "until they get used to it" I expect
there is going to be frustration when hitting 'down' doesn't toggle
play/pause, hitting up doesn't go 'back' but hitting left does etc.

I really don't like the "until they get used to it" part of this equation,
nor do I like the 'almost' the same functionality.
So that brings up the question:

Do you design the interaction to be 95% identical to what they are used to,
'almost the same', or do you take a completely fresh look at the entire
functionality / interaction of the product and design something from the
ground up?

Comments

16 Aug 2007 - 7:53am
James Melzer
2004

Why not have the person hold the iPod in their hand and use an
attachment to control another device remotely? That will require media
streaming, but definitely gives the person the desired experience. And
you save all the hardware costs of the screen and the UI since those
are already available on the iPod. An attachment that streams
wirelessly from an iPod would sell like hotcakes. Blasphemy, right?

- James

Sent on my iPhone

http://jamesmelzer.com

On Aug 15, 2007, at 8:05 PM, "Shaun Bergmann"
<shaunbergmann at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've got the rather enjoyable task of designing a new interface for
> remote
> control of the iPod.
>
> The hand held remote has the capability for 2 way communication, a
> full
> colour 240 x 320 LCD touchscreen, and the typical up/down/left/right/
> enter
> navigation pad found on just about every remote.
>
> The ability presented to us from the communication protocol gives us
> the
> exact same level of control as one is used to with their actual
> iPod, so I
> originally planned to emulate the exact same functionality the user
> is used
> to, but the hardware of this remote doesn't have a scroll wheel.
> The user is therefore presented with an almost identical piece of
> equipment
> and LCD screen listing their iPod content, and a round 'hat' set of
> navigation buttons -- their thumb in the same position as it would
> be on the
> iPod
>
> Playlists >
> Artists >
> Albums >
> Songs >
> Genres >
> Composers >
>
> The problem presented here is that due to the lack of the scroll
> wheel,
> we're using up and down on the navigation keypad to 'scroll' up and
> down
> through the selections. We'd be using the center 'enter' button to
> select
> (same as iPod) and we'd have to use the left button as the 'back
> out' of the
> drilled down hierachy selection.
>
> The functions already present on the iPod for button push events are
> already
> in place in the users handbrain, and "until they get used to it" I
> expect
> there is going to be frustration when hitting 'down' doesn't toggle
> play/pause, hitting up doesn't go 'back' but hitting left does etc.
>
> I really don't like the "until they get used to it" part of this
> equation,
> nor do I like the 'almost' the same functionality.
> So that brings up the question:
>
> Do you design the interaction to be 95% identical to what they are
> used to,
> 'almost the same', or do you take a completely fresh look at the
> entire
> functionality / interaction of the product and design something from
> the
> ground up?
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16 Aug 2007 - 9:15am
Keith Mascheroni
2007

this reminds me of the problems with the remote on my iSongBook player.

Without being able to see the design of the remote control, I guess I\'d fall into the \'almost the same\' camp. You said the lcd was a touch screen, can this be used in any way as a nav tool (I realize it\'s tiny and must display the lists/menus - but what if you could use an outer border of the touchscreen as a \'virtual\' scrollwheel?

Radical, but plausible. if i dont get my head bitten off, i\'ll post more thoughts later.

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