Some differences aren’t worth highlighting

12Feb09

When you schedule a Season Pass on TiVo, the icon that corresponds to the entry seems to vary based on how you scheduled it. There’s one icon for recordings scheduled from the TiVo website, and another icon for the ones scheduled from the TiVo device itself. There might even be other icons I haven’t seen, e.g. for the mobile phone interface. Yet as far as I can tell, these Season Pass entries are identical once they’ve been added to the list.

In other words, the different icons are visibly distinct and demand some of the user’s attention, but confer no additional value for future tasks. Nothing is made easier by their presence, and the extra styles just clutter things up. This raises an interesting point: different icons and styles should only be used when there is real value in helping customers tell the items apart after they have been created. If there’s no benefit to telling them apart at a glance, all you’re adding is noise. In cases like this, people would actually be better off if the items carried the same visual style, despite the underlying differences in how they were created.



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