Off switches

We need more. I went to turn the PS2 off and you have to hold this narrow sliver of a button long enough so it doesn’t think it’s a reset and it goes off. I don’t know where the Off button for the TV is because I use the remote. PS3/XBox? Use the controller. Monitor? A recessed button that gently gently does it’s best not to actually click. Computer? Again something almost incidental to the design. There’s a thing somewhere that Steve Jobs didn’t like Off buttons but this is a problem.
There’s the energy issue but I’m sure that has been shot down in flames by both sides of the argument so I’m not bothered about that. There is a design issue there too but that is also part of the problem.

Note: an Off button is a completely different thing to an Off switch.

Nothing ever gets switched Off. Right now the TV is Off, so are the consoles, the laptop but they aren’t Off. If you are old like me you can think back to when we had these things called “switches”. They had clunky functional little nubbins that you could grab and twist and flick to make the TV go on, the kettle boil, the lights work. And when you were done you switched them Off and you knew if was Off because you made a decisive move, you actually grabbed something and moved it until it clicked. And it wasn’t some simpering wishywashy sound, it was a proper click. That action and that sound meant the device was now Off. At night a home would be a series of clicks as it shut down. Now there is just silence because everything is still on.

Many years ago you had to wait for the TV to “warm up” before you got a picture. People yearned for the day they could Click and the picture would appear immediately. Now we have that technology but we leave the TV on all the time, hide the Off button and even if we found it there would be no real sensation either felt or heard that is was indeed Off or On.
Now: “Have you turned the TV off?” “Yes” “Are you sure?” “Okay, I’ll check”
because she’d heard the click.

We need more Off switches. We need to see a switch in the Off position and hear it’s journey to the Off position.
Why? Because a proper Off switch actually means “I am done with you now” and not having one means that the device is ready before you are, that it too easy to bring it out of it’s sleep, too easy to never really say “I am done with you now”.

Off switches are probably a lot better for us than what we have right now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *