SV7500 Multidisk Recorder


The SV7500 Multidisk Recorder/Player was a remarkable piece of equipment. It could hold 30 Still Video Floppies, with 25 field (a field is basically half of an interlaced full frame image thus lower resolution) or 50 full frame video images. The software could randomly select any image in the tray on command. However, it was not very user friendly at first. It had a remote with nearly 60 buttons (it had a full alphabetic keyboard under a cover), plus buttons for advancing through disks or through images. I was asked to spearhead a Tiger Team to address a number of it's shortcomings. Unfortunately, a new remote would have to wait for the next generation (which never happened).

For a number of weeks I worked with John, the software engineer, to increase usability, and make the menus easier to navigate. At the time, all I had for hard copy output was the group's wide ImageWriter dot matrix printer. Because I was illustrating the menus to reflect the changes we'd made, I would need to print the document every time we changed the menus. The document was 45 pages long and took several hours to print. I think it drove everyone seated around it crazy, listening to the printer drone on. (As a result though, I got approval to get a LaserWriter printer for the group.) We improved the remote buttons so they would have multiple modes, for example pressing the image forward button once advanced one image, however if you held the button for 2 seconds it would strart scrolling forward through the images, the same applied to image backward, disk forward and disk backward buttons as well. Compressed the number of submenus, changed words and labels, and so forth. Simple improvements that made the user interface more intuitive and more streamlined. A lot based on what I had learned from Steve Job's Macintosh interface examples.

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