Mac vs. PC: How Important Are GUI Icons?

Dec 20

Written by: Todd Anthony Puma
12/20/2012 12:57 PM  RssIcon

Are you a PC or a Mac? Apple or Android? These are key questions that I ask my clients when deciphering the expectations they have for their integrated home systems. It helps me find out what makes them tick, so that I can give them a system they can understand.

iPad and iPhone interfaces have become nearly ubiquitous in our society, and “Apple” people (like me) can hardly function without them. As a result, I want all confusion taken out of my system. I want to be able to look at an icon on my keypad and know that it will turn the Xbox on without even having to read it.

To maintain comfortability, using displays that incorporate similar branded icons makes for an easier transition for the client who purchased an integrated control system for their home. If you program Sirius Radio into a client’s keypad but do not have the option to load the Sirius Radio icon (after they are so used to looking for this icon on their iPhone), they will be lost on what to select. This client is looking for the whole package—there’s nothing this system can’t do.

My Apple clients tend to go with higher end systems that come at a higher price point to incorporate all of their expectations. On the other hand, PC people (like my wife) are looking for structure and ease of operation. She has an iPhone but somehow can never work it. We have four Macs at home, yet she will still only use my old Toshiba. When it comes to our remotes, she doesn’t care about the icon; she prefers descriptive wording and wants to be able to follow the process from beginning to end when operating the system. Based on knowing that she’s a “PC,” I understand that I won’t need a huge budget to meet her needs, because a basic system will get the job done. (Unlike a client like me who wants all the bells and whistles and to be able to use my iPhone to control absolutely everything.)

My integration company has been looking into a lot of control companies lately, and what we realized is that many of these manufacturers don’t have the necessary icons needed for our Apple client user interfaces. But for our high-end clients, we HAVE to be able to design an interface that reflects their expectations.

Fortunately, there are a lot of independent programmers that make custom interfaces for control systems from companies like Savant, URC, AMX, Crestron, and others. If you choose a product line that does not offer certain brand logos, you can take it one step further by partnering with one of these programming firms to customize a client’s system with more familiar icons and interface features. Not only do these companies allow you to integrate the logos you need, but they also enable you to customize the entire GUI to reflect your client’s personality. For example, if I have a client who loves sports, I might want to tailor their display using sports icons or backgrounds. No one wants to be the “me too” guy, and taking advantage of this opportunity not only allows your client to be a step above the rest, but it helps your work stand out in a crowd. As “custom” integrators, this is another way that we can differentiate ourselves from other integrators and big-box stores.

The perfect installation meets and exceeds all of your client’s needs whether they are an “Apple” like me, or a “PC” like my wife. I like to keep up with the trends, ask the right questions, and not be afraid to think outside the box. After all, if I don’t think of it, then someone else will. By then it will be too late.
 
 
 
Todd Anthony Puma is president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City. 
 
 
 
 

Tags: Mac , PC , GUI
Categories:

2 comment(s) so far...


Gravatar

Re: Mac vs. PC: How Important Are GUI Icons?

As a professional custom designer I find that the only hold back to the Ipad, iPhone GUI message is that you have to be able to generate your own applications to truly customize your display. Whereas when we are dealing with PC or analog systems it allows the ability to customize your buttons to whatever was needed. With Digital we have to wait until a company like URC or AMX sees fit to develop the macro and app. Kind of restraining.

By Robert Lieto on   12/20/2012 3:46 PM
Gravatar

Re: Mac vs. PC: How Important Are GUI Icons?

I completely agree with this article - customization is really important. People's devices are personal, and so should their remote controls. The good thing is, "custom" doesn't have to mean "costs a fortune" anymore.

Robert and Todd, have you looked at iRule? Full disclosure: I work for the company and advertise with ResiSys on occasion.

iRule's user interface is completely customizable - as much or as little as you please. If you want to use the stock templates, you can do that and have a working single-room control in 30 minutes or less. If you want go nuts and give the customer a completely custom UI with his favorite sports team logos or completely custom graphics, you can do that, too... At a price point that's accessible to a lot more customers than with the big guys. That lower price point also leaves more money in the budget for your services and for better equipment that the customers actually care about, like a bigger TV, better speakers, etc.

iRule isn't the only solution in our market segment, but we think we've hit most installers' hot buttons regarding customization, ease-of-use, price point, remote updates, upgradability for follow-on work, and customer satisfaction.

By Steve Crabb on   12/20/2012 4:15 PM

Your name:
Gravatar Preview
Your email:
(Optional) Email used only to show Gravatar.
Your website:
Title:
Comment:
Security Code
CAPTCHA image
Enter the code shown above in the box below
Add Comment   Cancel 

 

Archive
<May 2015>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
262728293012
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31123456
Monthly
May 2015 (10)
April 2015 (15)
March 2015 (14)
February 2015 (11)
January 2015 (16)
December 2014 (12)
November 2014 (10)
October 2014 (19)
September 2014 (21)
August 2014 (13)
July 2014 (15)
June 2014 (12)
May 2014 (12)
April 2014 (14)
March 2014 (15)
February 2014 (14)
January 2014 (24)
December 2013 (11)
November 2013 (12)
October 2013 (15)
September 2013 (19)
August 2013 (18)
July 2013 (19)
June 2013 (12)
May 2013 (18)
April 2013 (17)
March 2013 (13)
February 2013 (16)
January 2013 (26)
December 2012 (9)
November 2012 (11)
October 2012 (16)
September 2012 (11)
August 2012 (15)
July 2012 (13)
June 2012 (8)
May 2012 (9)
April 2012 (10)
March 2012 (7)
February 2012 (11)
January 2012 (14)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (12)
October 2011 (8)
September 2011 (4)
August 2011 (7)
July 2011 (11)
June 2011 (12)
May 2011 (8)
April 2011 (6)
March 2011 (9)
February 2011 (10)
January 2011 (9)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (7)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (9)
August 2010 (7)
July 2010 (8)
June 2010 (12)
May 2010 (6)
April 2010 (8)
March 2010 (10)
February 2010 (11)
January 2010 (1)
December 2009 (6)
November 2009 (6)
October 2009 (11)
September 2009 (6)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (5)
May 2009 (7)
April 2009 (9)
March 2009 (7)
February 2009 (9)
January 2009 (8)
December 2008 (9)
November 2008 (6)
October 2008 (7)
September 2008 (7)
August 2008 (3)
July 2008 (5)
May 2008 (1)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (3)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (2)
November 2007 (1)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (2)
August 2007 (3)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (6)
May 2007 (6)
April 2007 (4)
March 2007 (4)

 

Skip Navigation Links.
Skip Navigation Links.
download

7 Pros and Cons of Adding Commercial AV to Your Business
Read More»
By Heather L. Sidorowicz

Get Your Copy of Dolby's Latest Atmos Demo Disc
Read More»
By John Sciacca

You Need to Be Human in This Digital World
Read More»
By Heather L. Sidorowicz

With New Technology, Best is Always Better Than First
Read More»
By Todd Anthony Puma

Work It! A Running Playlist to Get You Through Your Day
Read More»
By John Sciacca

Slide Show
Slide Show

Audio Video Systems, Plainview, NY
Slide Show

Station Earth, Fergus, Ontario, Canada
Slide Show

Audio Command Systems, Westbury, NY
Slide Show

Evolution Video and Sound, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Worst Films Based On Video Games
Read More»
The Unexpected In Sports
Read More»
Wii Games For Kids Under 4
Read More»
Swtor2credits extra 5% bonus gold swtor for summer sale is waiting for you
Read More»
the opponent Rey Maualuga Jersey
Read More»
makeup gift Rob Havenstein Jersey
Read More»
Bruce Smith Throwback Jersey
Read More»
tournament Odell Beckham Jr Kids Jersey
Read More»
Glenn Howard of Coldwater
Read More»
It is necessary to see an optotric physician
Read More»