The worst volume control designs you've ever seen

Originally published at: The worst volume control designs you've ever seen | Boing Boing


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There was a time when “awful” meant this. I looked at some of these volume controls and awful is a fitting word in either its modern or antiquated sense!


Obviously these people have never tried to operate a Japanese toilet:


In itunes, there’s a volume slider.

When I’m connected to my desktop stereo, the volume slider means “truncate bits before you send it to the dac”. So naturally it’s set to max, I twist the volume knob to make things lounder or softer.

When I’m connected to my living room stereo over airplay, the volume slider actually controls the volume knob. Setting the slider to max makes it really really loud.


I once had a Samsung fridge with a temperature setting marked “Colder” at one end and ”Coldest" at the other. Beat that!


The volume control on the web interface for my Mopidy music box is a 0-100 slider. Fine, except that when I want to play a podcast to fall asleep to, it has to be exactly on 3. The only way to set it is to jiggle it with the mouse, and then move off, move back and hover to see the numeric value. Repeat until it’s right.

Eventually I’ll be annoyed enough to look at other interface plug-ins or hack +/- buttons.


Does it have volume control? Asking for a flatulent friend.


Pay up.


go to 11 spinal tap GIF


My airpod pros are up there. “Hey Siri, turn the volume up.” “You must unlock your phone to do this.”


I nominate the SiriusXM web player’s volume control.

2023-04-03-16-31-01-SiriusXM - Favorites

In truth, I just want all media players to have the same volume controls. Like with EST/DST clock changes, just pick one.

I’d even go so far as all media players should optionally allow locking and disappearing their volume controls, so I can just deal with the OS volume.

While we’re at it, play/pause/stop/etc buttons. And whether clicking on a video is pause/play or not. And all games must have a “Go silent when focus lost” option. Might as well do

Make these ISO standards and enforce harshly. I know, I know… XKCD. And herding cats. Loss of creativity freedom for devs. That’s why optional.

The first Bluetooth speaker I bought had 4 buttons; Bluetooth, “:arrow_forward:”, “+” and “-“. The Bluetooth button did what you’d expect, but the play button’s default was the same as the green/red phone button on my phone and the “+/-“ buttons were default skip forward/back. You had to long press each to get them to execute their obvious, but non-default functions of “play/pause” and “volume +/-“. And of course the buttons were finicky, so trying to actually use a long press usually resulted in the default of either dialing the last number or skipping the song. I wrote a bad review pointing this out and they offered a refund if I removed it. I told them I wouldn’t change my review unless they changed the product, but they refunded me anyway. Even free it wasn’t worth it.

My replacement purchase was the original Anker Soundcore, which is still kicking after 8 years. Cost $25. :+1:t3:


The cannon one is just perfect I love it.



My centrist/relativist fridge has no Coldest setting at all! Seems the UI designers are trying to discourage people from just turning the knob all the way up, by making it as confusing as possible. Don Norman needs to get in there.

The worst modern volume control design trend is sliders that have linear (not logarithmic) effect on the output level. Extra bonus if the lowest indent is nowhere near soft enough to tame overcompressed sources.


My one at home doesn’t but the ones in the office do - they play music to hide embarrassment.

Perhaps that wasn’t the volume control you were thinking of?

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To be fair, fridge UIs are weird for legit technical reasons. The compressor cools the air in the freezer (one setting) and a second flap controls how much of that air is then transferred into the fridge. This is a necessary way to cool both spaces while keeping the freezer the colder of the two. However, this also necessarily creates two controls which are not independent. Each one has side effects on the other.


I feel like I’ve seen this on BB before

Maybe it was in the comments

but that link doesn’t work anymore :confused:

I have an alarm clock radio with a iphone-like button - one button - that controls whether the radio is on or off AND whether the alarm is set or not.

If I wake up before the alarm and want to let my spouse sleep in while I get the kids ready for school, you have to press that button a certain number of times to turn the alarm off. Of course it cycles through playing the radio first, which defeats the purpose. You have to actually unplug it to avoid waking anyone up.

I’m betting that U/I designer lives alone.


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