Archive for February, 2009


“Press and Hold” is a hard habit to break

For a long time I programmed “room off” buttons to turn the whole house off when pressed and held for two seconds.  I developed this habit back in my days of programming Xantech and Elan keypads and I continued to do it until recently when I realized that even though it was a well known trick of the trade for programmers, it was not intuitive for my customers.  Nobody ever instinctively knew to hold a button to trigger a secondary function, it always had to be explained.  This is not to say that implementing “press and hold” logic never has it’s place. It’s still a viable option for in-wall keypads and hard-button-only, handheld remotes; but wherever there is a touch panel there is always a more logical way to accomplish your objective.  In the case of my “whole house off” example, a “system off” page with the option to turn off one room or the entire house is a much better option.  It is not only more intuitive but it gives the user the chance to “go back” and do nothing if she inadvertently hit the “off” button.  I realize this is not a new concept and many of you already program this way.  My point with this entry is to encourage you to periodically go through your collection of age-old programming techniques and habits and get rid of the ones that no longer make sense or are simply unnecessary due to advances in the industry.  You might be surprised at what you find!


Welcome to the NTDesigns blog!

The official NTDesigns blog is up and running.  It will help us keep you updated as to what we’re up to here at the shop and when new products are released.  More importantly though, I am excited about the opportunity to share some of our collective knowledge with you to help with your own projects.  As is the case with many technology based trades, interface design and development is learned largely through online tutorials and knowledge bases.  So, because we have learned much of what we know this way, we want to share as much as possible through this blog.  I hope you will let us know what you think as this page grows.

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Aaron Craig