Don't add an LED everywhere

March 30, 2016

421 words, a 2 minutes read

So you wanna design a device. It’s something for home users, like a speaker or a battery charger. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an LED to show its state? Oh, and let’s make it extra bright so we can show who’s boss to our competitors.

How about no?

I’m still living in a room with all my electronic devices. So there are multiple monitors, a TV, multiple speakers, chargers, video consoles, etc. And guess what? Every freaking one of those has an LED telling me how it’s feeling today. Like I care.

Ok, I get it. I can easily turn off my computer stuff because I’ve got a hard switch for that. Don’t need standby here, what should it do anyway besides using up power?

But there are places where that ain’t so easy. Take the PS4, it’s quite fine when it’s running in standby and pulling updates. I don’t wanna start a discussion about everything needing updates before you can play it, but it’s the right cure for now. But why does it need to light up my room while it does that? Ok, it’s not so bright (the controllers are FAR worse, I put them in their own enclosure), but why?!

I think the worst are charging devices. Two examples:

Charging a PS4 controller is like not turning off your lights. The light bar (which I hate anyway) is pulsing, which makes it even more annoying.

Just yesterday, I bought a wireless charging pad from Samsung. Samsung has an annoying history of not respecting people’s sleep, with the S2 telling you that it’s charged up completely with a loud and annoying beep. Now they did it again: when you’re charging, the whole pad lights up. It does stop apparently when it’s fully charged but that doesn’t help much.

Now see, I know that LEDs are cool and cheap. They are a fast way to tell the user how a device is behaving, that pad can tell you by its lights when the device isn’t fit correctly. I know just by looking at the pad that it’s still charging up (guess what, I already know that by my phone). But please, please, give an option to turn them off. Could be something easy like a little switch, or something secret like pouring unicorn blood over it. Who knows. Just do something about it.

I don’t wanna end up with more sticky devices anymore, just because I had to put duct tape on that annoying light disturbing my sleep.