Everyone has at one point or another received a call from a parent or grandparent about a technical problem. Usually these problems are a simple fix and 90% of the time the on/off switch will do the trick. Well one day I received such a call from my grandmother. She was having problems connecting her universal remote from Comcast to her new TV. Though I have never hooked up a universal remote I though it couldn’t be too challenging. After a quick Google search I was able to find what seemed like simple step by step guide to connecting the remote. The steps required me to press specific buttons on the remote in a specific order and hold each button for a specific amount of time then enter in a five digit code into the remote. If any mistakes were made during to process I would have to start over from step one. On top of the overly picky button sequence, there were about 15 different five digit codes to choose from and only one would work. So this took me about 30 minutes to figure out which is much longer than my average visit to Gram’s house.
Presentation and Design Process:
Activities: Buying a new TV or remote and connecting the two devices, searching the web for a tutorial, not calling Comcast or another service, frustration
Environment: Your home, Grandma’s house
Interactions: Inputting repetitive commands into a remote
Objects: Universal remote, Television, Cable Box
User: The owner of the television, the owner of the television’s child or grandchild
Description of Proposed Intervention:
My proposal is to add a button to the remote and to the cable box or television that would allow the two to sync up when both buttons are pressed simultaneously. The TV would then display a message notifying the user that the remote is connected. If the remote failed to connect to the TV then the TV will have a HELP menu that will give advice on an alternative method for connecting the remote. This reduces the chances of the user having to search online for a solution to the problem thus saving time and reducing frustration. This method is similar to the functionality of Wii remotes for the Wii. There is a red button on the back of the Wii remote and on the back of the Wii that syncs the remote to the console when both buttons are pressed.
One of the biggest challenges I face was thinking of a past problem that needed to be solved. I’m not the best at remembering past experiences unless there is something that triggers a memory. Luckily I remembered helping my Grandmother out with a computer problem last week which reminded me of the experience I posted above. Another challenge I faced was illustrating the experience. I was having trouble imagining which illustrations would depict my experience the best given my lack of talent in the art department.