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View Poll Results: How important is a Good UI?

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  • Remember it for life?

    24 35.82%
  • Just remember it long enough to set it up the way I want it?

    24 35.82%
  • Kiss Only. UI? Who needs 'em?

    19 28.36%
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Thread: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* yaesumofo's Avatar
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    Default How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    OK guys I was wondering how important is a good UI. Are you the type of person who learns just enough to set up the light the way you want it and then forget it? Or do you commit it to memory forever?That is usually what I do unless it is really easy to remember.What do you guys do?
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* RyanA's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    The same, otherwise I prefer really simple two or single stage (non-existent) UI. But I really am looking forward to picking up a new lf5xt to mess with.
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  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I prefer ones that I can remember, like the Novatac, Fenix, etc.

  4. #4
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    Nitecore has probably come the closest IMO to a perfect UI

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* climberkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    i would love to play with a nitecore ui....

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* LukeA's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    On/off or 2 modes. Any more and I think the light enters toy territory.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    for me the SF L1 cree is my favorite UI
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  8. #8

    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I was going to answer your survey but It made no sense to me.

    UI is the most important part of the flashlight. If I had a light with two settings ON/OFF, then a clicky would work. I HATE those programming ones. I bought one and even if it was programmable, I'd still hate it. I want high before I turn it on or low before I turn it on. Multi-clicks makes me choose at least minutes before, if it was programmable.

    I like one switch for ON/OFF and another to choose the setting, that can be selected before I hit the on switch.
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  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Crenshaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    i dont really understand the poll answers...

    To me UI is very important, UI basically means if its Single mode, or has twistie selection, or multi tap, or dual stage tail..etc, all the User Interfaces. Kiss, is also an example of a UI....

    so how important is considering a UI when i make a purchase? VERY..

    Crenshaw

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* 1dash1's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    The D10 has reshaped the way that I view my lights.

    In a binary world, I had a palette of lights to suit my range of needs. Each light had its purpose and did it well. If the situation dictated different lighting needs, I simply carried several different lights. And because no one light was perfect, I tended to carry a light only if required.

    In an analog world, I have a light that can be ramped up or down to fit the need. The minimal amount of light will often do, whereas the previous options used to be fixed (much brighter!). And because it is easy (and fun) to do so, I tend to use the feature often. My use of lights is more benign, blending in with the night darkness, rather than radiating a wall of light to push away the night darkness.

    And since it is fun, it's easy, it's convenient; I carry it all the time. I use it in situations where I never used to carry a light. It is my constant companion.

    So, how important is a good U.I.? I'd say it is very important.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    This poll doesn't make much sense to me either.

    How important is a good UI? Shouldn't the answers be:

    Very important
    Somewhat important
    Not important
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic* yaesumofo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    Maybe those are the answers to the poll that you have created.

    If you read my post then you might have a more clear understanding of where I am coming from.
    All of the questions directly relate to how good a UI is. How?
    Well If a UI is so good that I can easily remember it for life...
    or just enough to use it to set the light up the way I want it
    or UI's aren't a good thing and the KISS interface is for me.
    I hope this clears things up for me.
    IF not then just do your own poll.
    Yaesumofo

    Quote Originally Posted by WadeF View Post
    This poll doesn't make much sense to me either.

    How important is a good UI? Shouldn't the answers be:

    Very important
    Somewhat important
    Not important
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  13. #13

    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    Yaesumofo - I think I understand the confusion we have with the poll. If I assume a programmable multi-click UI only, it makes sense. If I add my SF-U2 UI, then it makes no sense. Are you referring only to programmable multi-clickers?
    Last edited by Flashlight Aficionado; 07-09-2008 at 09:40 PM. Reason: added the word "programmable"
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  14. #14
    Flashaholic* PhantomPhoton's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I'd say the question doesn't "match" the poll answers too.
    For me, it depends on the light. I buy some lights, just to play or to try out a new manufacturer, new emitter, etc. Usually cheaper model lights which I sometimes will give away to friends or family once I've had my fill of it. For these, I don't bother memorizing UI, I learn enough to play and that is is. Sometimes I strike gold and I decide, this light is worth keeping, then I will memorize more details. This happened for example with my LF2. Big hairy UI, but the light impressed me so much I was willing to take the time to learn it. There are a couple lights that I've bought with UIs so bad that I haven't given them out.
    Then there are lights that I buy for my personal use. I usually prefer to have KISS lights here. Something that will work immediately without any time for rational thought. Push button for light, push harder for more light is my favorite. I do generally arry a multifunction light around with me as well for blinking signal whatever. Generally this is a photon proton, LF2, LF3. The Proton has an incredible UI, and I've spent the time memorizing the LF twisty UI so that I can access the basics without much conscious effort.
    So I'm a mixed bag. I try out new stuff that I really won't put much effort into memorizing, I shop for and use KISS and give a couple more complex lights a chunk of memory.
    With a couple exceptions, most lights work reasonably well even if you don't know the UI. So I don't consider UI to make or break a light as much as other factors like price, availability, durability, batery type. But it does affect my high end purchases. I won't pay $200 for a reverse clicke cycle mode light, even if it is bright and made of Ti.
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  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Crenshaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    yaesu, i think what Wade and myself are getting at is that a UI means user interface, whether its kiss or not, its still called a user interface.
    and, a UI is very subjective, for example, you are a fan of a KISS UI while others may be a fan of the multi tap ui..

    and i just dont understand, you dont have to memorise certain UIs

    and i agree with phantom photon, sometimes a light is so versatile, its worth memorising the UI for..like the LF2X

    Maybe what you were driving at is...."what is a good UI to you?"

    Crenshaw

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by yaesumofo View Post
    If you read my post then you might have a more clear understanding of where I am coming from.
    Quote Originally Posted by yaesumofo View Post
    OK guys I was wondering how important is a good UI. Are you the type of person who learns just enough to set up the light the way you want it and then forget it? Or do you commit it to memory forever?That is usually what I do unless it is really easy to remember.What do you guys do?


    It sounds like you are asking multiple questions. How important is a good UI, and what type of UI we like. Also you say "That is usually what I do unless it is really easy to remember." right after "Or do you commit it to memory forever?" which doesn't seem to make sense. Did you mean you usually set it up and forget it?

    Anyway, I think I figured out what you were asking and went with remember it for life as I like UI's that I can learn and remember.

    I have a Liteflux LF2, and a LF5. While I'll probably like these lights, I doubt I'll remember ALL their UI options for life without pulling out the manual, but I can remember enough to do what I need.

    Right now I really like the UI on the Nitecore D10 and EX10.
    Last edited by WadeF; 07-09-2008 at 09:49 PM.
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  17. #17
    Flashaholic* yaesumofo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    Well a user interface is just that the way we interact with the flashlight.
    The U2? I would categorize as a KISS interface. It doesn't require that you have to remember a certain number of clicks and holds to achieve a certain result. You turn the light on and spin the selector to give the desired result.


    Maybe the concept of this Poll and it's twisted answers are too complicated for some people just like some User interfaces are too complicated....Maybe

    I find it interesting to see how people react when they are confronted with something that they are not expecting.

    Just like the flashlight is generally NOT a complex device from a conceptual point of view neither is this poll.
    But when confronted with a User interface which is confusing then the results are unpredictable. as are the results of this poll.

    It just isn't that complicated. at least not from my point of view.
    As I said before. Maybe another poll with the right questions and answers should be started in order to get a more correct result.
    Yaesumofo

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashlight Aficionado View Post
    Yaesumofo - I think I understand the confusion we have with the poll. If I assume a programmable multi-click UI only, it makes sense. If I add my SF-U2 UI, then it makes no sense. Are you referring only to programmable multi-clickers?
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  18. #18
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    KISS does not necessarily mean on-off.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Paul6ppca's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I find myself setting and forgetting,for example,my lf3 is set super low and med,then 2 twists gets max if needed.Pretty simple once set.

    Novatac is set
    1= med high
    2=super low
    3= med low
    push and hold from any is momentarty max.

    Q3 flupic
    1 is mega low
    2 is med
    3 max

    D10 I find using as 2 level low or max,havent really had it long enought to get used to it.I do like the size,UI is ok ,but growing on me.I think we need to live with it for a bit before I can decide if I think its best.It is one f the whitest tints Ive seen,also its brighter than my NDI

    NDI is set for low and max,very easy to change and store user level.

    My veiw on any multi level light is its ability to conserve battety life.For that fact alone they are worth it to me as edc use.

    Right now if I had to pick a favorite I would say Novatac,I always know what Im going to get,and its the lowest low I have,(Q3 flupic with cree q3) is relly close and has no rings.(my biggest complaint with cree)

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Oddjob's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I like KISS UI's so I learn enough to use the light and just refer to the manuals for other options. Depends on the light as well I think. With the Novatac and HDS EDC I learned how to access a lot of the options but with twisties like the Ra Twisty I just looked at the manual to reprogram it then forgot about it because the levels are now where I want them. Same with my LF5. I set it up a while back so if I wanted to change levels I would have to refer to the manual.
    I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* m16a's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I commit the UI's to memory for life. I could operate all my lights in a foggy state of barely being awake. UI is EXTRAORDINARILY important in my humble opinion.
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  22. #22
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I now make buying decisions mostly on the light's UI after matching the "basic" requirements I have at the time (brightness, battery type, overall size, etc.).

    There are lot's of lights in similar classes, but most have their own, unique UI, so that's what I look at most.

    As far as remembering, I just need to know enough to set them up the way I like it. After that, I can always grab the manual later if I need to brush up on changing anything.

    I don't look at a UI as something that offers a huge number of features, I look at it for it's ability to be set up exactly the way I want to use the light.
    Once programmed, I don't mess with it much unless I change my mind with actual use.

  23. #23

    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    A flashlight is a tool for illumination and not a toy...although I sure do spend a lot of time playing with my lights.

    The more your tool can do, the more potential for a complicated interface. And that's where thoughtful design has the opportunity to shine through with an interface that is as simple as possible in accessing all of the features available. The same reason Windows is easier to use than DOS.

    I'm a musician and work with a lot of digital electronics for guitar, vocal, etc. When most of these new digital products hit the market they could do wonders but you had to have a PHD in the particular product!!! As they evolved, the importace of an intuitive interface became important for their sales, and for the end users sanity.

    So, all that said, I admire and seek out interfaces that are intuitive. It's frustrating to have "set and forgot" parameters for a tool, and when the need arises to change them, it's like a chinese puzzle. I much prefer an interface that you can "re-remember" by some intuitive process.

    JMO
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  24. #24

    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    Even if the UI on the D10 is dead simple in teory it's tedious in practice and no way of knowing if it will be bright or not when it turns on My take is that a light needs two modes and it should be obvious what mode you turn on when you do. The D10 could have had a UI that was press one time fast = low - press and hold = high. That's KISS for me anyway.

    I think the Zeebralight 30 has the best UI ever (and the most all-over perfect light I own).

  25. #25

    Default Re: How Important is a Good UI...Really?

    I think there is a big difference between the UI used for operation for the UI used for programming in the more complex lights. The first two options in the poll seem to focus on memorizing the UI to program the most complex lights. Any way you tell a light what to do is it's interface - down to something as simple as a twisty switch with two states, on and off, and zero programmability.

    To illustrate where I am coming from, let's look at 3 different lights set up as 2 stage UI's in operation - the NDI, Surefire L1, and the LF5XT (setup with 2 modes ignoring that it still has 100% and strobe always available). Note I don't own any of them, although I have looked closely at all of them for my "wish list"; if I get the actual UI wrong it's still a demonstration of my thinking about UI's. Alternately we can think of them as light A, B, and C with notional, but possible UI's.

    Surefire L1 - Progmramming UI is the ultimate in simplicity - you can't. It comes with 2 preset levels. You basically have 5 states for the light (momentary low, momentary high, constant on high, constant on low, and off.) In operation the UI is controlled by the two stage momentary switch for levels and twist for constant on. Pretty simple in operation using it's 2 controls (the twisting tailcap and momentary button).

    NDI - Programming is simple, but limited in what you can actually program (user mode light level). 2 controls to enter the same 5 states (bezel and forward clicky button). Also pretty simple in operation, just different controls that you may or may not find work better for your needs.

    LF5XT - Programming is the most complicated of the lot because there are so many options, but you can set it up to be a 2 level light. All controlled at the tail button so more clicking but not twisting. Not complicated to use as a 2 mode light once set up.

    All three can be used as relatively simple 2 mode lights. Different UI's in operation for different user preferences and uses. Complication of programming varies quite significantly between the 3. That complication buys you function if you can use it though.

    To answer the poll based on two different UI aspects, the one in usage and the one for programming:
    -UI in usage is critical. It's how I make the light do what I want/need without distracting me from what I am doing. It gets used thousands of times in the life of a well used light.
    - Programming UI is less important to me. It should be as simple as possible for the functions it offers, but I am okay if I need to have the manual in front of me for less used settings. I don't expect to use it often. I understand that extra function adds complexity. If that complexity lets me adjust the UI for usage by making the light work better for me, then the hassle is more than worth it.

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