Suggestions after trying out your product
I have a list of suggestions after trying your model U remote.
- Increase the size of the unit. It could be thicker to hold much more battery capacity. This is not a device like a smart phone, that has to be carried in the pocket. In fact, making it larger will make it less likely to be lost between the cushions of a sofa or recliner.
- The display could remain the same size vertically, but be a little wider. Perhaps 4 or 5 buttons in width? I have reasonably large hands, so I don't know how wide would work for people with small hands, but that could easily be tested. I imagine that 5 buttons wide with the same button size would be well within the size that most people could comfortably use. My wife has very small hands, and even she was surprised by how tiny the unit was and how few buttons could be displayed at the same time.
- An increase in length of the remote without increasing the size of the display would make it easier to hold in the hand and use the buttons on the lower area of the display. This would also allow for more volume internally for battery capacity.
- Move the carousel to the bottom, since it is likely used less often, and the bottom of the display is more physically awkward to use.
- Use wireless charging, or use a base that has spring loaded contacts, so it doesn't take a lot of fiddling around to get the remote onto the base for charging. It is good that you weighted the base so it is easy to remove from the base, but you have to think about both directions. If the base had a molded shape and spring contacts, the remote could be placed on it without even looking, and always be charged for use. This doesn't mean you have to eliminate the USB port. That could still be available as an alternate charging port and for programming or any other purposes you might have for it.
- Eliminate the separation between "services" and "devices", such that generic webhooks could be used in place of learned IR codes. I have a media PC that controls all of my other equipment via wired connections, and itself can be controlled via HTTP. I don't use any infrared at all. This is not uncommon among high end setups, making your product useless for me due to the insistence on using infrared. Every button should be capable of doing any function. The fact that you have these two categories distinct and separate only limits the possible functionality.
- Add more of the control over IP options to the products that can use it. For example, I have an Onkyo receiver, which has the capability of complete control via IP, but you only offer infrared control. Infrared requires line of sight. IP control does not.
- Allow everything to be renamed. Not everyone is going to use your device the way you think of beforehand. Give them the ability to give names that make sense to them, even if it doesn't make sense to you. You can't predict every use case, so your design often limits the functionality to use cases you thought of ahead of time. If you make things more open, then it can be used in more ways that you did not think of ahead of time.
- Add 5GHz wifi. 2.4GHz is overused, often causing interference. For example, just where I'm sitting, I have 14 devices that use the 2.4GHz band within 10 feet of me. Of those, only two can use 5GHz instead. I know it costs a small amount more to use 5GHz wifi due to licensing, but for a $200 product, it is a minimal expense that will help a lot.
Unfortunately, the limitations of the product make it unusable for me. In my case, I needed the ability to replace any IR command with a webhook command, similar to the method to learn a new IR command to replace the existing function of a button. I don't use IR in my home setup at all, as I don't care for the line of sight requirement.
I also found it awkward to use with many of the often used functions needing to be placed too low on the display for easy use without bending my thumb into an uncomfortable position. Simply extending the length a little beyond the lower part of the display would make it much easier to hold and use without requiring my fingers to effectively become Olympic gymnasts.
As an additional thought, I don't use wifi on most of my devices, preferring wired networking connections. If I used wifi instead of wired connections (which is more common among most users), that would increase the number of devices using 2.4GHz by an additional 7 devices over the 14 I already mentioned