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RUNNER UP! I have put a lot of thought into the layout of my PCF design and I think it makes good use of the Pronto NG’s color capabilities without being gratuitously flashy. I wanted to give the design a sense of spatial depth and for it to have an industrial feel, like it was actually made of materials that would be used to construct an RC device, but I also wanted it to have a slightly surreal quality to make it fun to use.
The design incorporates both “activity” and “device” concepts. The “cinema” pages, for example, execute macro events where audio, video and lighting adjustments will automatically be made. If however you wish to make an adjustment to the picture or sound qualities during these macro events, the “remotes” button will allow access to individual device control.
While the file is large (please be patient while loading!!!) and the design contains a number of hidden and (seemingly) redundant pages, these were necessary for proper navigation. For example, when selecting the “TV” button on the “remotes” page to access the TV remote, the appropriate “source” button (DVD, VHS, etc…) on the TV remote page will be dimmed depending... (more)
RUNNER UP! This PCF is a modified version of the one I use on my remote. It has continued to change and be enhanced almost every day for two months! Most of the buttons have been redone several times to look right on the actual remote. Things you might miss a first glance are:
Buttons that blend into the background (on the side and top bars).
Shadows on some buttons and text. On the actual remote the home page buttons actually seem to float above the background.
In the “Power Center”, rocker switches that seem to work when pressed.
All buttons have a “pressed” state.
“Filmstrip” Dish Network TV icons on the favorite pages
“Visual” independent lighting control for the Home Theatre.
Password protection lockout sample on the home page; click on the padlock.
Animated countdown timers runs in macros, giving user feedback to wait.
Magnifying glass on help page.
A tools “mini remote” page for the basic TV and AV receiver functions from most devices.
Cursor buttons on the screen as well as the hard buttons. My wife likes the soft buttons and I like the hard buttons. One remote does it both ways!
My approach to developing the user interface for my ProntoPro NG was focused on practicality and function. The PPNG's utility, in my opinion, comes from its many hard buttons--allowing a user to issue commands without looking down at the remote. My design therefore tries to use the hard buttons for the most common operations: arrow navigation, chapter advance, home page, the "TiVo" button, and so on.
I believe the most practical user interface for an entertainment system is one that focuses on activities rather than devices. The design I've implemented hides the devices that are merely providing "output" (namely the receiver and the television). The activities are roughly analogous to "input" devices (DVD player, DirecTivo, GameCube, and music). However, the user interfaces for these activities are often sparse--limited to only those remote control features I have ever utilized while engaged in an activity. If I'm playing GameCube, I only care about controlling inputs, adjusting the volume, and switching the television aspect.
Where possible, I have tried to keep buttons that provide a given function across multiple activities in roughly the same place. For example, a "Go"... (more)
I have developed a very clean, simple and neat Activity-based configuration, which is also fully functional. It features simple custom graphics and custom-labeled buttons. In addition, it includes my first attempt to develop a transport graphic which was derived from a digital photograph, from one of my OEM remotes. My configuration features 100% .png graphics which all utilize a transparent background, for that custom look. My .pcf features 10 devices on 42 pages. The Yamaha device contains some 30 + discrete codes.
This layout is an evolution of my TSU3000 layout. It is activity-based and makes heavy use of macros to control my two zones of equipment and home automation. The layout of hard and soft buttons for each device follows a pattern, making it fairly simple to learn to use. It also contains a fairly extensive help system. This look is the result of my wife asking me to do a layout that matched her favorite purse!
The result of my design: 134 custom-made buttons (not counting spacers & labels)! My favorite button is the volume toggle in the lower right page. Here's what's unique about my configuration:
Consistent frame-based GUI with three button groups in frame: TOP: device selection with trinary button states - pressing a pressed button in the main page of a device executes a setup macro with auto-power-on, etc. LEFT: device specific buttons, e.g. TiVo: Favorites, Thumbs Up/Down, Slo-Mo BOTTOM: “orthogonal” (e.g. X-10 & Amplifier are always needed independent media devices), or common functions (Keypad)
Modifier buttons, when pressed once, lead to an extra screen – when pressed again they lead back to same device
Eye pleasing “soft” design with fairly correct lighting (shadows, etc.) and well balanced colors
Simplicity – one page operation with most common functions
No confusing clutter (I put in time, date & battery for completeness only... I actually prefer it without those items, but it's easier to erase them than to integrate them later)
The activity signal is still visible, though barely taking up any space now
This layout is an evolution of my TSU3000 layout. It is activity-based and makes heavy use of macros to control my two zones of equipment and home automation. The layout of hard and soft buttons for each device follows a pattern, making it fairly simple to learn to use. There is a help screen for each device. The skin is based on a pattern that matches the paint of our living room.
Ever get tired of the same old graphics on your Pronto? My design is theme based: each user can have their own theme! Or, a user can change themes every week or month. The button colors and backgrounds change, but the button placement is the same for all themes. My design has elegant buttons, a simple navigation system, and can be easily customized for any user.
This PCF design is based on LCARS (Library Computer Access and Retrieval System), the graphical computer interface seen on certain Star Trek TV series. There are control pages for a TV, DSS receiver, TiVo, ReplayTV, Receiver, DVD player, LaserDisc player, 2 VCRs, CD player, tuner, tape deck, video games, lights, and curtains.
A few of the standard system items have been replaced to take advantage of the whole LCD and create a complete design:
The activity icon is now a Star Trek phaser and pops up while the Pronto transmits.
The battery gauge is a functioning LCARS-style battery gauge.
Pressing and holding the circular blue logo for 3 seconds takes you to the Pronto's setup pages.
To go to the Home page at any time, press the lower-right "Home" hard button.
I tried to leave all device functionality as generic as possible, hopefully allowing most people to use this PCF in their own system without much customization beyond programming their device's IR codes. To simplify programming, a "Codes" page under each device contains buttons with the IR codes for that device. The actual device buttons link to these buttons for their IR codes.