DonnaM » Blog Archive » Which mapping is natural?

Which mapping is natural?

I’ll tell you something embarrassing – I always press the wrong button to change the channel on the TV remote control. My husband set it up very thoughtfully – the ‘up’ button goes numerically up through the channels – 1 press for each takes me through channel 1, 7, 9, 10, 28 (our 5 free to air channels), and the ‘down’ button goes down through the channels. But I always get it wrong.

He’s done exactly the right thing – up to increase, down to decrease. So why do I get it wrong? I finally figured it out today.

The TV guide that I use is laid out with the channels going down the page, in a table. Channel 1 is in the first row of the table, channel 28 is in the last row. Sounds sensible – numerical order, top to bottom (they only list the channel names, not the numbers, which is why I didn’t include an image, but the name-number match is ingrained).

So what I’m doing is not cycling numerically through the channels, I’m cycling through my memorised visual of the TV guide – if I want to go from channel 1 to 10, I press the ‘down’ button.

Thank goodness I figured that out…

7 Responses to “Which mapping is natural?”

  1. Matt Goddard Says:

    …but will it stop you pressing the wrong button?

  2. donna maurer Says:

    I’ll tell you when I next watch TV – but don’t hold your breath, it’s not a common occurrence.

  3. donna maurer Says:

    So figuring it out didn’t help any – I still do it…

  4. Stephanie Sullivan Says:

    I love that! I can never work the TV remotes either. There are three (for the DVD, TV and Cable box — I know — “get a universal”)… I can never remember which one is for what… they all look alike! The whole family makes fun of me.

    I don’t really care. For the most part I hate TV and don’t leave the computer enough to form new habits. ;) And anyway, the family would lose a great source of entertainment if ever I figure it all out.

  5. Paul Gokin Says:

    Hold the remote sideways, so that “up” is to the right.

  6. donna maurer Says:

    That is a truly excellent suggestion! The right/down mapping would work OK I think…

  7. eric scheid Says:

    Donna, this is a great example of a mental model and the effect on subsequent design. One more anecdote to add to the swag of tricks.