Classroom Controller

In the past few days of class, I observed a few students and professors interacting with their classroom settings. In particular, I paid attention to the “ classroom controller ” ( I haven’t learned its official name), which has a touch screen for people to adjust room light, sound volume, powerpoint screen, curtain slides and set up video conferences.

When I entered a classroom the other day, I walked around in it trying to press some light switches but failed to find the least traits where they might be. So I sat in the dim natural light waiting for another student to come in and do something. But she also had no idea how to light up the room. Then the third, fourth person arrived without looking for the switches. By the time the professor was prepared to begin class, the light was still off. However, after a few seconds, the room was gently filled with brightness. It turns out a guy in that class knew the existence of the controller and easily turned all the light on with it, meanwhile, the professor reacted by joking about how smart the room is. After class, I stayed behind and tried the controller myself. It has a clear display of functions, and controls different devices smoothly. But it took me some time to figure out where the light button is, since it was only displayed when I clicked on the left side arrow on screen, which can be easily overlooked at first by people who’ve never read the controller’s manual. 

Then in another class, I watched a couple of other people fumbling with the controller. Though they’ve successfully found the controller, figuring out how to adjust the light took them another minute or so, making them laugh and sigh at the same time.

After these initial observations, I think the classroom controller’s usability can be improved by making it easier to be located, for example, using magnets to stick it on the wall next to the entrance; and visualising some commonly used features, like adding physical light-control buttons on the side of the screen.

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