This is a remote control for the climate control system in a conference room:
I was intrigued by the the “Too Warm” and “Too Cool” buttons. I kept on pressing the “Too Cool” button but alas, I didn’t get any less cool. Cuz I’m so freakin cool. See how that works?
On first read, I was a little confused. But it didn’t take too long to figure out (given the direction of the arrows corresponding to each button) that the idea was for the user to press the “Too Cool” button when they were feeling chilly, and the “Too Hot” button when they were feeling too warm. Too Cool makes it warmer, and Too Warm will make it cooler. Simple, right?
I thought this was a pretty unique take on the traditional heat vs. cold / up vs. down way of managing the temperature (e.g. put the heat on and make the fan low, or put the a/c on and crank it). I like the idea of the user’s feeling or current state being reflected in the interface, as opposed to the traditional inversion that has to happen: “I’m cold, and thus I want to make it warmer.”
It reminded me of the oft-argued interaction design question of: Should a button reflect the current state of the interface, or should it indicate the action that will occur when the button is pressed. This of course depends on the specific situation, and if there is some other way to indicate the current state.
Un-originally enough, when I flipped down the panel to reveal more buttons on this remote control’s user interface, it appears that this mode is called the “I Feel” mode. It’s difficult to see from this crappy cameraphone photo, but as you press the ‘Mode’ button, you toggle between several modes, of which one of them is “I Feel”:
So – is this more usable than a traditional control set? I think the answer to this question depends on how intelligent the system is. If I press “Too Warm,” will it keep on getting colder until I’m freezing or does it have a reasonable shut-off point (I suspect the latter). Is that ‘optimal’ temperatue configurable somewhere? If I am indeed very cold (”Freakin Ear-sicles”), can I press “Too Cold” multiple times to make it warm up sooner? This last use case is something that is probably easier addressed with an absolute temperature setting, or even a level-ed fan system.
If it’s any indication of the intelligence of the system, I only recall being “Too Warm” or “Too Cold” once every couple of hours, after which time the system seemed to right itself.
So where else would this relative approach that considers the user’s current condition be useful, or at the very least interesting?
“Too Soft.” Make my ringer louder.
My phone bill has been “Too Expensive,” throttle back on the amount data usage (live updates, etc.)
“Too Busy” to answer email.
After using the word “too” a lot of times in this post, I’ve noticed that it’s actually kind of a funny-looking word. Is “too” it even a word actually, or did I totally make it up?!? Too weird.
No related posts.