Maybe like me, you are forced to live with a Comcast digital receiver box or digital video recorder. According to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Comcast currently is the largest US cable provider with roughly 24,156,000 subscribers. With this large of a user base Comcast has a responsibility to offer a streamlined and efficient user experience if they hope to keep customers happily using their services. Luckily for them, I cannot choose another cable provider or I already would have, damn oligopolies! This lack of competition is exactly why I think that Comcast has done nothing to make the user experience on its DVR boxes more enjoyable.
As an experienced DVR user and self proclaimed gadget freak I find it amazing that this thing was not questioned prior to being released to the public. Well I guess it most likely was discussed in depth by a committee of so called experts and this is the result. Only a process as stupid as design by committee could result in this outcome.
As you can see there is a huge advertisement located at the bottom of the guide, which wouldn’t be such an annoyance if it wasn’t for the fact that every time you scroll past the last entry the cursor jumps to the ad. While some people may say that you should page up or down to move quickly between pages, I prefer to browse the descriptions as well. In my mind selecting an ad should be an active process initiated by the user. The forced acknowledgement of these ads not only makes me less inclined to visit them, it has me seeking out ways to avoid them all together. Good interface design makes navigating large amounts of information both manageable and quick. These obviously were not the goals of the people responsible for making this decision. Designers make decisions all day long however losing sight of the user in the decision making process is what leads to these types of solutions.
If you have Comcast have you noticed this as well? I would love to hear what other designers think about this.