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

Martin Belam  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...

2 Comments

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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