Forward and backward: Giving users more control over their inputs


After going through many alarm clocks that were just too stupid to keep using, I finally have a fairly intelligent one. The best feature is the ability to move the time selector both forward and backward. In other words, if you overshoot the intended time when programming it, you just move the dial the opposite direction to reverse the change.

It’s amazing how few products support this simple adjustment, and how inconsistently it’s implemented. For example, my oven lets you increase or decrease the temperature with arrows for each direction, but there’s no such capability when setting the built-in clock.

I guess it’s a lot cheaper to make things with one-way controls. Or maybe that’s just the “standard” approach in the industry. Either way, the sorry state of these designs suggests that simply providing people with finer control over their inputs would lead to considerably higher customer satisfaction.