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
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