Usability issue setting up Google TV (NSZ-GT1)

With classes starting at Minnesota State University, Mankato, next week, I bought and set up a new 42” LED TV with a Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player (Google TV – NSZ-GT1).

You may be wondering why I would do such a thing before starting another semester in graduate school. The reason is that my wife knows that I will be spending most nights upstairs in the office and if she wants to watch TV or a movie, she will be downstairs where our only TV currently resides.

That explains why I came upon the information that follows in this post. Setting up the Google TV, I came to the step “Quick start” and had to read it several times before I understood what it meant. Can you see what the problems are?

Click the image above to view a larger version

There is a consistency problem with terms and (in my opinion) a design problem that affects usability as well. The first “section” is not clearly differentiated from the second section other than by it being on a separate line. This forces a user to have to make the correlation themselves between section/paragraph 1, section/paragraph 2, and their corresponding options below. Furthermore, each section/paragraph uses inconsistent terms, which further complicates making the correct connection between the descriptions and which option to choose.

Selecting On = Yes

Selecting Off = No

To be consistent with the verbiage used for the radio option buttons, these should be changed to “Yes” and “No”:

Selecting Yes

Selecting No

Furthermore, the description sections and their corresponding options rely on the user to make the vertical connection (all the connection there really is) between the first section on top and the first option.

To further obfuscate this step, there is a lack of parallelism between the description verbiage and the option verbiage. Albeit, the first section and the first option are fairly similar as you can see below:

Selecting On will reduce the startup time  

and

Yes, reduce start-up time (Instant)

  • Why is one “start-up” hyphenated and the other not? (The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications (3rd ed.) recommends avoiding “startup as a verb” and to use “start” instead. Nevertheless, a Google search indicates that the average home user expects “startup”.)
  • Why is it important to distinguish that this option is “Instant” only when choosing the option?

There is clearly a problem between the second section and its corresponding option:

Selecting Off may disable applications that can turn the power on at a specified time.

and

No, keep longer start-up time (30-40 sec)

The second option relies on the user reading, understanding, and then applying the information learned from the first option in order to understand the result of choosing option 2 (“No”). In fact, there are two results from choosing “Off/“No” and one implied result:

  1. Will “disable applications that can turn the power on at a specified time.”
  2. Will “keep longer start-up time (30-40 sec)
  3. It is not stated but implied that selecting “No” will lower the power consumption in standby mode. This needs to be reviewed by a Subject Matter Expert.

Of course, “longer” is relative to option 1 (Instant), which is described in description 1 but not in description 2.

Here is my suggestion for improving the usability of this step without altering the verbiage too much:

Do you want to enable Quick start?

Selecting “Yes” will reduce the startup time (Instant) but the power consumption in standby mode will be higher.

O Yes – reduce startup time (Instant)

Selecting “No” will keep a longer startup time (30-40 seconds), may disable applications that can turn the power on at a specified time, but the power consumption in standby mode will be lower.

O No – keep longer startup time (30-40 seconds)

*Disclaimer – I love this product and now own two. This post is not meant to imply that the product itself is poor. In fact, I give the Sony Google TV 10 out 10 stars

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