This past Saturday night, my part of the world switched back to daylight savings time. This twice annual changing of the clocks always reminds me of how much poor user interface design we all put up with in so many products, and particularly anything with a small LCD screen ... and in this case, clocks (or anything with a clock). Over the next week I will slowly but surely move through the house with a sense of dread. After 25 years in the same house, it's amazing the number of clocks which need to be reset.
When I was younger the process of resetting clocks was easy. Find the knob, and turn until the minute and hours hands show the correct time. Today, I fear my approach to every device. The users manuals have long since disappeared. So here is my scenario:
- Approach device with trepidation.
- Does the device have one or two switches to set the time?
- Are the switches labeled?
- Start pressing and hope something on the display makes sense.
Now just in case you think this guy is dumb (i.e. me). I've worked at a corporate R&D center for the last 25 years. I'm considered a senior technologist. This stuff should not scare me!
Thus, I issue my challenge. What clock do you fear on this twice annual time change!? I've included a photo below of one clock I did NOT have to change. Why? Last Fall, I gave up and left the clock on daylight savings time. As of Sunday, this clock is now correct again! It's part of a bookshelf stereo system by Boston Acoustic which has great sound, but the clock ...
Click upon the image to view full sized
Some clocks set themselves using a radio time signal. Bliss!:)
Posted by: Reader | March 23, 2010 at 06:59 AM
Rich, I live in mortal fear of updating my after-market car radio. None of the buttons indicate a secondary function, but resetting the time involves holding a button and pushing another until the time is updated.
Unfortunately, I can *never* remember which two.
Posted by: Tyler | March 17, 2010 at 09:17 AM
Hey Mark, I agree that a pdf Google search on the model number should yield me a product manual, but a well designed product would not require the user to take this action. In addition, most people don't really know how to search, let alone how to use their computers! :-)
Posted by: Rich Hoeg | March 17, 2010 at 08:45 AM
The internet may be of help here. If you Google the make and model of your appliance, the odds are very good that a .pdf version of the manual will be available to download for free. This has saved many of my devices from being reprogrammed with a lump hammer.
Posted by: Mark | March 17, 2010 at 05:47 AM
lol, totally agree with your points! I used to adjust a microwave timer in my apartment. Because it is a shared kitchen, and the landlord could not find the manual for that microwave, I had to figure it out on my own. After thousand times attempts, I still could not understand how those small buttons on the panel work. Fortunately, I discovered the specifications of that microwave on the back, and found the manual online to solve this problem. It cost me almost one hour!
Posted by: Jason | March 16, 2010 at 10:26 PM
The best thing I have seen it my GE clock radio. It has a button on it with a sun icon and the words "daylight savings" on it. I press it and it adds an hour. Next Fall I will press it again and it goes back an hour.
The problem is none of my other clocks have this feature.
I feel your pain.
Posted by: Jeff | March 16, 2010 at 09:57 PM