I worked on Logitech’s new top of the line universal remote as the design lead for the small screen experience. It featured an integrated touch experience for easy customization and control.
6 months, 2012
2 designers, 1 researcher, 1 pm, 8 engineers
strategy, ideation, interactions, prototypes
Traditionally, universal remotes feature a plethora of hard keys to account for multi device control. These often make for a complicated device setup and are tedious to customize.
By incorporating a small touch experience, the most commonly accessed functions could be kept a press away, while providing a customizable surface for all other keys.
The challenge was to find the right balance between hard and soft keys and designing an intuitive onscreen experience.
I worked closely with the hardware team to identify key hardware constraints impacting the overall remote experience, such number of keys, layout, screen size, capacitive soft keys, and industrial design.
I built several foam prototypes with key inlays intended for generative research. We also tapped into Harmony’s extensive behavioral data set to identify the most frequently used functions across thousands of supported devices.
After hardware definition, I focused on designing the out-of-box and onscreen experiences. This was a first for Logitech’s line of Harmony remotes. I had to develop a comprehensive design framework to account for all aspects of the experience: setup, interaction model, ui components, navigation, information architecture, error states, transitions, crud actions, over the air updates, etc.
I worked with a visual designer to define the visual design and generate final production ready assets.
Although a commercial success, the remote was polarizing among the two already defined target demographics: casual users with 2-3 devices, enthusiast with 3+ devices. This remote experience made universal control more accessible for the masses. However, it also proved more limited for advanced users who value immediate key access through customizable hard keys.
Many applauded the inclusion of the touch experience but found its placement (central to the remote, decision driven in part by research and ergonomics) cumbersome. This made it hard to access the transport key cluster (play/pause, fast forward/rewind) at the top remote. The next generation of remotes rectified these issues by shifting the touch screen to the top and incorporating another cluster of customizable hard keys.