Highlighting one of two options

When going through the set-up process with our new Panasonic TV, I was presented with following dialogue:

There are two options available, and one of them is currently selected: can you tell which one? Where there’s a list of options available, it’s common to reverse the colors on the currently selected item. But this doesn’t work where there are only two options in the list.

I remember reading about this failing in UI design and usability books in the ’90s, so it’s depressing that this error is (still) turning up in mass-produced products in 2010. Multiple failings:

  1. The person or team who created this part of the TV’s interface weren’t aware that this is not the right pattern to use with two options, and
  2. Usability testing didn’t catch this, or Panasonic doesn’t do usability testing.

It’s likely that this code is reused in multiple televisions – I doubt this is the first model with this problem.

This is just one sign of the immaturity of the software development industry: we’re still making errors today that were identified decades ago.

No doubt a more trendy title for this post would have been “User Interface FAIL”.

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This entry was posted in Design, Software, Testing, Usability and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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