The Next Generation Of Remote Controls Is Already In Your Hand

How many remote controls do you have in your living room right now? If we may fathom a guess, you probably have at least 3, and each of them have about 50 buttons of which you only use five most frequently. Right?

This week, we're doing a special feature in our Talent Spotlight, which shines on Mathieu Boulet - an interactive designer associated with Make Me Pulse. In his personal capacity, he is working on RemoteThink, which is a concept app designed to revolutionize the way we view content on our televisions and other devices. It's all about making the remote interface more intuitive.

"Do not let the remote control you."

TV viewing is a passive activity where users are provided a remote to drive their experience, but between 1956 and 2014, there has hardly been a serious attempt to reduce the frustration most users face today. Sure, there have been numerous attempts to make the TV more interactive in the recent past, but they have all failed to significantly reduce our cognitive fatigue. 

Boulet's idea to use our smartphones as TV remotes is not unique, since 81% people already use both at the same time. Already, there are apps in the market that allow us to use our phone as a remote - Logitech Harmony Smart Control, TiVo app, Freebox Télécommande, Peel Smart Remote, and Samsung TV Remote - just to name a few.

The difference, however, lies in his ergonomic approach so that users don't even have to look down as they flip through channels, or adjust the volume. They can even do more complex tasks, like finding programs per channel, hour(s) or keyword(s). The design allows your TV to automatically switch to your favorite show or channel as soon you switch it on and it makes your live feed much more interactive.

If we were to test Boulet's proposed design (RemoteThink) against Peter Morville's criteria for a successful user-interface, we find that it is (or can be) useful, usable, desirable, nested, accessible, credible and right - that's a check on every criterion!