abqdan: (Default)
2013-02-08 09:12 am

A Pet Peeve

Somehow, the art has won out over information on so many products these days. It crept up on me, so I didn't really figure it out until recently. I think it started with Apple's artsy 'carousel' approach to displaying albums on music devices. But it has spread to just about everything now - mostly because app writers want the apps to look cool.

My problem is that the art - album covers, artist pictures, DVD illustrations - all take up a huge amount of real estate on a screen. Our big screen Sony TV is a case in point. It has apps for Hulu and Netflix built in. But there is no way to open a simple LIST of the programs we have queued up. Instead, a maximum of 20 icons of the shows is displayed. As a result, you get to endlessly scroll through long lists of content - especially on Netflix, where my current 'instant' list has some 200 titles in it.

Now on the matching websites, Netflix and Hulu both offer a combination of icons and lists for shows. This works well; but on hand held devices, on boxes like Roku, Tivo or our TV, you only get the icons.

I'm afraid the entertainment industry has failed to find out how people use information before designing the access to it. Probably, an app designer for Netflix has 20 titles in queue, and figures scrolling six at a time is no problem, and looks pretty. But in the real world, all kinds of users use information differently. I don't mind them having this 'tile' option for those that want it; but it really would not be at all difficult to also provide a simple list display for those of us that just don't care about the cover art.