HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Made by Monkeys

DVD Player Controls Frustrate Movie Buff

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Design in a vacuum
Rob Spiegel   4/24/2013 11:12:39 AM
NO RATINGS
The problems with this DVD player design could have been avoided if the design engineers involved were aware of some of the standard features in DVD players. The eject button that doesn't activate the "on" function is a good example. Simple familiarity with the button functions of other DVD players should have been sufficient to avoid these shortcomings.

far911
User Rank
Silver
Re: Design in a vacuum
far911   4/25/2013 2:45:05 AM
NO RATINGS
When you go ahead to design a product, its common practice to take into account some successful industrial examples. This is where they went wrong in this case, there's a lot of void space on the DVD player but they haven't bothered to put the basic playback controls. 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Design in a vacuum
Rob Spiegel   4/25/2013 6:37:06 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Far911. One thing I don't understand is why some players have most of the controls on the remote alone and very little on the box itself. If you lose the remote -- or the dog uses it as a cfhew toy -- the product becomes useless.

3drob
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Design in a vacuum
3drob   4/26/2013 10:44:14 AM
NO RATINGS
Case use studies probably indicated that 99% of the time, people do NOT use the front panel buttons (except to turn the unit on/off and eject the disk, and then only because you are there at the unit to insert/remove the disk).  Only including an eject and power button are an acceptable compromise between none and many.  Want more buttons?  Spend more money and get a better unit.

The real design failure was in the user interface.  The location of the buttons was non-intuitive or didn't match industry standards.  Being poorly marked makes it worse.  Minimal cost to do it right makes it a fail.

If I were designing it, I would eliminate the power button entirely (most modern electronics already lack power buttons) and make the entire front plate of the DVD tray a capacitive touch eject button.  Tap to open/close and turn on, long touch (or no-use timeout) to turn off.

My DVD player uses capacitive buttons (i.e. no buttons), but has many, with hard to see markings.  Except for the eject button (which does turn on the unit, thankfully) I use the remote exclusively.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Design in a vacuum
Rob Spiegel   4/26/2013 1:49:35 PM
NO RATINGS
That makes plenty of sense, 3Drob. I have an inexpensive unit with stop/play, eject and power on the panel. All I ever use on the panel is the eject button to put the DVD in or take it out. The eject button turns the unit off or on. I too, use the remote for all other functions. It works just fine.

1800ES
User Rank
Gold
Re: Design in a vacuum
1800ES   4/26/2013 10:04:54 AM
NO RATINGS
RE: your comment about the eject button that doesn't activate the 'ON' function-

Likewise, the GREAT Pure 550 internet/FM/Itunes/memorystick/whatever radio I got this year. The 8-10 buttons on the front control power and source selection. When the radio is off, you must press the 'Power/Standby' button to power the unit up, then press the button that selects the source you want to listen to. It would make a lot more sense to turn 'ON' the power (if required) when a source button is pressed. That would eliminate standing there and waiting for it to power up (love these european solid-state radios!), then selecting what you want to listen to.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Open it up
Battar   4/25/2013 8:55:40 AM
NO RATINGS
Open it and look inside. Thsi looks like a "design for manufacturing" solution. The eject button is probably on a very short ribbon connected to the control board, which in turn is connected to the DVD module with another short ribbon. The on/off button would take the shortest route to the power supply, which would be a seperate module. I'm just guessing here, but I can see the logic behind it. Given that the unit has only 2 buttons, I'm guessing you paid for it what I pay for a decent hamburger/chips/beer (not cheap where I live), so you can imagine that it was designed to be assembled in 2 minutes 17 seconds using the minimum number of parts possible.

JRThro
User Rank
Iron
Slightly Better Design
JRThro   4/25/2013 10:01:12 AM
NO RATINGS
I have an inexpensive DVD player that also has only the Powe and Eject buttons on the front. On this player, the Power button is at the far left, the DVD tray is to the right of the Power button, and the Eject button is to the right of the DVD tray.  This seems like a much more logical arrangement to me.

There are no other controls on this DVD player, so it absolutely requires a remote control to operate. (Luckily, I still have the remote control.) Presumably this is also the case with the original poster's DVD player.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Slightly Better Design
William K.   4/25/2013 4:47:31 PM
NO RATINGS
Like most of the really cheap trash DVD players this one is only intended to be run by the remote control device, the power switch and eject buttons are a compromise, only included for removal of the rented DVD when the remote control fails after 4 months. Your best recorse is to use the remote on/off function and to check for the presence of local control buttons when you purchase the replacement for this one in a few months. If you purchase the junk there is no incentive to build anything better. Please remember that!

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Human factors
Charles Murray   5/2/2013 7:56:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Stories like this always make me wondr if these manufacturers ever do any human factors studies before they release their products. I can't imagine they do. As William K pointed out in an earlier comment, you get what you pay for.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Human factors
William K.   5/8/2013 4:03:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Charles, actuyally, with only two controls it should not be hard to keep track of them. Besides that, the power button is between the deck and the enclosure side, keeping the switched lines away from all of the other electronics, which are noise sensitive. So there is a valid technical reason for why the button is where it is. Probably the AC power connection is on that end of the enclosure as well.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Human factors
Charles Murray   5/9/2013 7:08:21 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks, William K. I'm glad to hear there was some method to the madness.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Human factors
William K.   5/9/2013 10:51:08 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes,Charles, there is a reason but it may not be an adequate excuse. At some point somce concession should be made to user convenience, which, BY THE WAY, is not the same as adding hundreds of features that noboy will ever think of a reason to consider using. How about the FF and rev buttons, which on a VCR only have one function, but on a dvd player the same button jumps to the next section if pushed and released, but it serves as a "fast" mode if pressed and held. Isn't that counterintuitive?

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Human factors
Charles Murray   5/15/2013 7:24:47 PM
NO RATINGS
William K, I'll repeat what I said somewhere else on this site. If all designers of electronic products looked at the toys made by Fisher-Price, we'd have a much simpler world. And a better one, too. Knobs and big buttons. Nothing extraneous. That's all I ask for.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Human factors
William K.   5/16/2013 8:22:29 AM
NO RATINGS
Charles, you are right, but that concept is exactly the opposite of what the marketing group is demanding, which is "product differentiation", which often means all sorts of features and functions added to things that really do not add much value for most of the users. So the push needs to be on the marketing people, and "good luck with that".

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Human factors
William K.   5/16/2013 8:22:30 AM
NO RATINGS
Charles, you are right, but that concept is exactly the opposite of what the marketing group is demanding, which is "product differentiation", which often means all sorts of features and functions added to things that really do not add much value for most of the users. So the push needs to be on the marketing people, and "good luck with that".

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Human factors
Charles Murray   5/22/2013 7:41:07 PM
NO RATINGS
I believe you're right, William K. The problem is that all that "product differentiation" results in more confusion and, ultimately, dissatisfaction with the product. I just don't get it.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Human factors
William K.   5/23/2013 10:42:49 PM
NO RATINGS
The problem is that marketing and sales types are often much closer to upper mamagement types who make the decisions than the lowly engineers who make all of the ideas actually function. And at the level that those folks run at, style does trump substance, and they get huge salaries no matter what. So who listens to the engineers? They are always saying that things are a bad idea.

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Made by Monkeys
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service