10 Foot Interface Showdown

Courtesy of MSDN Universal, I downloaded and installed Windows Media Center Edition 2005 on my home theater PC yesterday. It looks like the original reports were correct-- MCE 2005 is more widely available at retail, too. Here are the relevant product links at newegg:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2004/10/10-foot-interface-showdown.html

Tivo probably owns patents on it’s alpha-numeric entry pad and the forward/back stuff. I would think MS would have ripped that already.

Here’s what MS could do. Make up a keypad using the same setup as Tivo. Move the CLR, SP, DEL to the bottom. Move the entire thing to the right side so that the information is shown on the left. It’s not copying because it’s not in the SAME EXACT PLACE.

The back/forward stuff should be a no-brainer though. I thought the MCE stuff used that whole intuitive user interface crap where everything is like a web browser? Guess not. It still looks pretty though, but making it simple to use is the key since you could probably be faster using a damned mouse.

In the case of the alphanumeric entry fields, it’s horribly inefficient.

You do have to hit the explicit “back” button to go back a page, too. I hate that damn button! The Xbox controller has an explicit “back” button as well, and it’s probably just as pointless there.

PowerCinema 4.0 4.5 versions is MCE’s only competitor for now, and have huge advantages. Check out the new versions soon to be released at www.gocyberlink.com.
{PCM OEM shipments are millions higher than MCE}

I personally think the telephone entry method is much more user friendly then a move the cursor to the letter you want and select it method. I think that takes too much time. With more and more people using cell phone text messaging, this is an obvious choice for the technical user. I’m sure Microsoft took this into consideration when choosing over a TiVo rip off. I personally can type in a whole name in about the same time that I could get to the second letter by moving a cursor. But I can see a point about the non-technical user, which will soon be extinct in our society, or they will hate the digital world. As always, there should be a choice. I think many first impressions are biased; probably because people had TiVo’s first and are comparing something they are not so familiar with to something they could navigate blind. That back button will become second nature in a matter of days or weeks, depending on your geek level.

With more and more people using cell phone text messaging, this is an obvious choice for the technical user

I don’t think it’s “obvious” to inherit the limitations of a telephone keypad on a computer screen. Keypad entry is done by necessity, not by choice-- why do you think people have blackberries with full QWERTY keyboards?