“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!

Aaron Craig

Aaron Craig is a graphic designer & entrepreneur. He is the founder of NTDesigns, a UI design firm that specializes in touchscreen based interfaces, especially in the home automation industry. He is the primary author for the NTDesigns Blog, and writes periodically for other blogs and publications in the UI design and automation realms when he can. Aaron lives in Milwaukee with his family and two dogs, Napoleon and Kip.

  • Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


    March 30, 2009

  • yipp, agree. In AMX I also make sure in my Button Event, a PRESS, HOLD and RELEASE.
    My biggest problem with trying to use HOLD function, I then have the problem that when the button press action happens the command execute, when rather I just want to execute the HOLD function that is embedded onto the same button… annoying…

    Eric de Jager

    August 16, 2012

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