He of We never thought of them as too many until She of We brought it up. After all, there were only three of them. But to be honest about it, one was confusing, one didn’t make any changes, and one nobody really knew what it did. But still, how confusing could it be. After all, it’s only a toaster.
She of We has been on an anti-button quest for as long as He of We has known her. “All you need is power, volume, and channel,” she often says of the TV remote. He of We secretly agrees with her but sometimes really just wishes for one remote. The one for the cable that’s suppsoed to run everything never does and the one for the DVD is never there when you need it. But fewer remotes mean more buttons. Or does it. Even if one remote is running three or even four entertainment devices, the commands are as universal as the remotes are supposed to be. Power, volume, channel, and for the DVD, play and stop. Throw a “menu” button in for the DVD and the cable and that’s still only 10 buttons.
The point of too many buttons was hammered home the day She of We counted them. Fifty-three buttons on the cable remote, 32 on the TV remote, 19 on the microwave, and 10 on the coffee maker. Do they all have to be so complicated. It’s like all of the appliances were designerd by committee. Perhaps they were. Hopefully they won’t revolt.
As we’re typing this, we’re counting buttons. Excluding those for the letters and numbers, this computer has 27 additional buttons. That’s 27 more buttons than a classic Underwood typewriter of 85 years ago. And it gets us to the Internet and around the world. Yet the cable remote has twice as many buttons and it barely gets us around the channel guide. Like that third mystery button on the toaster, we aren’t actually even certain that they all do anything.
Se here’s our advice for the electrical engineer who is charged with designing people friendly accessories. Power. Channel. Volume.
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?