City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

After a couple of personal favourites, something a little different.

'I'm Alan Partridge' Series One DVD extras has a 'quite superb' additional 'play-let', entirely improvised between Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge) and Felicity Montagu (his personal assistant, Lynn). Within which, Alan, perhaps unwittingly though you never know, gives Lynn a short lesson in creating a hierarchy of alerts within interaction design. That's not quite how he put it, but …

The scene is the Linton Travel Tavern car-park. Alan is completely bored and has called Lynn into the car for some 'paid conversation'. He's further exasperated as he doesn't know why his Rover 200 make an alarm noise when he turns the key in the ignition. For the last ten minutes, he's been exploring the possible reasons for the alarm. Lynn's suggestions serve only to force Alan to explain a few things about in-car control systems, both on the ideal way to articulate non-urgent alerts which don't serve to distract from primary tasks and when to recognise that a non-essential feature is not worth building alerts for …

'I'm Alan Partridge' Series One [Amazon UK or US]

Elsewhere, on Interaction Design Classics:
#1: The 'progress bar' on the Voice-O-Graph in 'Badlands'
#2: The big pink arrow from 'Grand Theft Auto'
#3: The 'A Bit More' button on the Breville Professional 800 Collection 4-slice Toaster
#4: The Melnikov House intercom system


One response to “Journal: Interaction Design (Non-) Classics: Alan Partridge’s Rover 200 fascia control system”

  1. Adam Richardson Avatar

    A colleague of mine just got his Audi back from the shop after having recurring “check engine” light problems, something that VW/Audis are horrible at as I can personally attest to. The mechanic told him the light checks 80+ things, so even if you fix one thing, another thing may soon go wrong and the light will come on again. Of course you, as the driver, can’t tell on thing from another, so it looks like the same problem is just recurring and your mechanic is an idiot/ripping you off.


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