TiVo troubles: a word to interaction designers about having a "Happy GUI"

 by Martin Belam, 31 August 2003

Today my TiVo started needing a re-boot literally every 4 minutes to prevent the whole system locking up. Eventually I have had to unhook it from my tv set-up and leave it to one side to deal with another day.

So, how well do you think I warmed to the happy TiVo cartoon character accompanied by cheese-synth-light-entertainment music in the wacky opening animation that appears every time you restart the machine?

GUI/interaction designers take note: if you are thinking of making anything with a happy-to-see-you splash screen that takes a minute or so to work its way through with no skip, please have a think about how many times your poor user is going to have to sit through it whilst trouble-shooting a faulty system.

And consider whether it is making them warm to the brand as a personality, or whether it is making them want to put their fist through the screen...


If you press the main TiVo key at the top of the remote, it skips straight out of the 'happy movie' to the main screen.

Hmmm, I realised this after some frustration...all I can say is "don't make me think!"...why did I have to learn to press the button to stop the gurning happy television mocking me?

On the other hand, touch wood, after a couple of days the TiVo picked itself up and now seems to be working fine....

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