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:
- 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
- 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”.