Saturday, January 19, 2019

Adventures in UX disasters: The Pioneer AVH-2440NEX dimmer control

To provide a display for the backup camera I recently had installed on my car, I had a Pioneer AVH-2440NEX head unit installed in my dashboard. The display was distractingly bright at night, so I set out to dim it. The unit supports automatic night dimming, so I figured this would be easy. It is, but only after you've endured a UX hazing ritual of the kind that's distressingly common in the software industry.

On the AVH-2440NEX (and related models), there is a display setting called Brightness. It does not control the brightness of the display. It controls the blackness of the display. The brightness is controlled by the Dimmer setting. Dimmer has a range of 48 values, 1 to 48. Larger Dimmer settings decrease the dimness of the display, because Dimmer controls the display's brightness.

Values for Brightness (which do not control the display's brightness) are -24 to 24.

To summarize: The display brightness is controlled by a setting called Dimmer, which has a range of 48 values starting at 1, with higher values decreasing the dimness. The display blackness, in contrast, is controlled by a setting called Brightness, which has a range of 49 values that start at -24.


Think of all the professional developers--UX designers, programmers, QA people, managers--who had to sign off on this before it shipped to customers. I don't understand how they could collectively believe that this is a reasonable (much less intuitive) design for mainstream consumers.