Bathroom Radio Control

Shower Radio Control

Recently, I moved into an apartment that has a radio in the bathroom. I was happy to have it, because I like to listen to the radio while I’m getting ready, especially morning radio. In Rochester, I like listening to the country station 92.5, but my roommate likes listening to the Top 40 station 106.7. When we moved in, I thought I’d play around with it and see how it worked. The bottom right touch button is to turn the lights on. The bottom left is to turn on/off the radio. The top left is to turn off/back on the light. The top right is to turn the fan on/off. Pretty simple I thought. Then came the radio controls. The tuning controls was pretty straight forward, but to tune I have to repeatedly touch either button for it to change stations, one-by-one. The volume was confusing, because I couldn’t tell how to turn the volume up or down. The “M” button did absolutely nothing when I touched it. So I could turn the radio on, but I had to leave it on one station or go through the slow process of changing the station. I gave up, and because 106.7 was the closest I set it there and for about a month left it alone.

Then one weekend, while staring at this thing and brushing my teeth, I decided to study and inspect the control because there had to be more to it. In my mind I was thinking, “how does this not have any presets? Who would do that to a person?” Eventually, I realized that it does have presets, EIGHTEEN OF THEM! Who needs eighteen presets? I’ll add that there is no way to go back and forth between the presets, I have to touch the “M” button seventeen times if I want to flip through them all. The volume button is a lot easier. I touch “VOL” for a few seconds and then I can either touch the “TUN” to make it go down or the right “TUN” to go down (but I have to be quick). Unfortunately, I can not touch “M” for a few seconds, and then the “TUN” buttons to make it go back and forth. So far I have programmed 6 stations: 106.7 and 92.5, repeatedly.

The enargeia of this product can be seen with it’s clean lines and the smooth surface. When I first saw it, I thought it looked very modern and was pleased that it did not take up any space. I also like that I can turn features off and only keep the ones I want on. On the surface, it all looks very simple, which is pleasing to the eye, but in reality it is a little more complicated.

Similar to the many examples presented in Norman, the features of this product were meant to add to the experience of the user. If there were eighteen stations that I enjoyed listening to, then having this feature may be worth the time and effort it takes to preset those stations. It also seems that the designer may have forgotten to include an option that would allow the user to easily switch back to a previous station… or maybe I just haven’t figured that part out quite yet.

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3 thoughts on “Bathroom Radio Control

  1. What a unique design! It looks like something you’d see a fortune teller use! Very intersting look and an interesting idea! I would not have thought about using a radio system in the bathroom, but the idea that is controls more than a radio is neat. I love when designers come up with an idea for something we don’t know we need, and then make it all high-tech and cool. I’m a total sucker for that stuff, darn it!

  2. It sounds like a hassle to control the tuning! As a user, its design is certainly pleasing, but a disorienting user interface can hurt a product with potential. The designer should have thought of the ease of use when controlling the radio; natural design should have come into place when developing the final product. Only one volume key and a seemingly random M key? These are not good examples of designs that are familiar to most users, and not everyone is equipped with an instruction manual to go through all the steps.

  3. I love devices like this, they’re terrible yet fascinating. The ideas behind them are great, but they are never really fleshed out and kind of served up half baked. So many things are rushed out to consumers because companies have to beat their competition, but then we get products like this where waiting a little bit longer to incubate would have done a lot to flesh the problems out. Simplicity is best

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