It’s become rather a stereotype at tech conferences that somebody will stand up to give a talk about user experience design, and they will start by showing you a ticket machine that they found hard to use or a TV remote that they believe has too many buttons upon further investigation. It turns out they have done no research into TV remotes and they don’t even work in the TV industry. You can be an expert or designer but never both.
Today you can be seen at tech conferences where people show you a slide of a TV remote and say, Oh, it has too many buttons.
Wouldn’t it be better if it worked better with less buttons?
Maybe, maybe not.
The person to tell us is not someone who doesn’t work in the TV industry.
There’s actually a very good experience-based reason why a TV remote has too many buttons on it. If you would ask a frequent T.V user about the buttons he is happy with these buttons, because he knows the value of all buttons. When T.V was introduced it has less buttons. There was a long latency between a user hitting a key and the machine responding. TVs themselves had low-resolution displays, which meant text and graphics had to be large, and any menus could only have a few options. Therefore, menu interfaces would mean lots of layers of dialogs that the user could only navigate extremely slowly. Likely for this reason, manufacturers opted for a ‘flat’ remote interface where most options were available at an instant.
When somebody tries to create something new without fully understanding the industry, expecting that their previous experience is more valid than other people's arrogance is the enemy of design.
Because as designers, we want to continuously be assuming that we are wrong to keep our eyes open for the reason that we might be mistaken.