I need to get something off my chest. For over a year, I’ve been the happy owner of a piece of awesomeness: The LG Smart TV powered by WebOS.
I was hooked from the first review. And so, I bought it. After that, things got even better: the on-boarding looked finger-licking good, the illustration style powerful and the color palette vibrant. And don’t forget the cool Bean-bird character and fantastic use of animation. I was thrilled. The pay-off was spot on: “Less like work. More like fun.”
So why am I writing this post? Is it just to tell you how happy I am? Well, no. Here’s the twist.
At my place, like in so many homes, every now and again the remote miraculously disappears. Whether it’s by itself or by tiny human interference: it’s just impossible to find. I check the usual hide-outs (underneath, between or next to the couch). But when I don’t succeed fast enough – let’s say in less than 10 seconds – I tend to lose my temper.
To avoid unsociable evenings, I have the LG TV Plus app installed on my iPhone. A virtual remote control app, that somehow made its way to the App Store. I say “somehow” because the app doesn’t look like it belongs in the real world. It appears to be a development test, a working wireframe.
And that’s why I experience this overwhelming feeling of disappointment. It doesn’t fit my LG vibe at all. On the one hand; the TV interface makes me super happy. On the other hand the app interface really does the opposite. And I’m not just talking aesthetics here; the app doesn’t cash in on the opportunities and the power of the Smart TV. It could provide an upper, a bonus experience. But now it’s a downer. And it shouldn’t have to be.
So what exactly am I trying to say? LG’s WebOS is clearly distinguishable from any other Smart TV brand, because of its extraordinary user interface. So please, please, please put the app in the same league.
How? Well, for starters, a little color wouldn’t hurt. And some decent font-usage. Maybe a teeny bit of animation. A more visually pleasing programming guide shouldn’t be too hard.
And how about some innovation? I think there are several ways to make this a Smart-Remote App. For instance: all the actions you perform in the app are shown on the television screen. And that can be quite tricky. Let’s say my girlfriend (lovely girl) is watching her favorite soap opera. Man, I wouldn’t dare even think about checking how long this misery will last, and what show is on next. I probably wouldn’t survive her wrath.
So, an inspect-only mode would be a welcome new feature. And having the opportunity to set alerts for my favorite shows. Oh, how I would welcome that addition.
But this is still child’s play. Let’s get radical. How about using the app as the input device for all the apps you have installed on your Smart TV? We all know the struggle of typing using a TV remote, right? Come on, you can help us out here! And these are just the basics: there are a lot more functionalities that can bring the app to the next level, and make it easier to use.
So, dear LG, we can’t just leave it at this. There is so much to improve! Let me put my skills where my mouth is. Bring us on board and “let’s make some fun”.
Vincent Koopmans, Design Director at Resoluut