Navigating through a menu with only 2 buttons



  • I have a physical device with a screen and 2 buttons.

    This device needs to be able to enter a "settings" menu, which shows different options which can be turned on/off or have a "selection" of 4-5 possible values. The menu can (and probably will) have submenus for organizing / grouping similar options.

    I can think of multiple different approaches to handle this, but what I'm looking for is whether there is research / guides on what is going to be accepted, or is "good" from a usability point of view? Are there "negative examples" for such szenarios?



  • I am not sure about exact research, but still wanted to bring this example in. The most intuitive approach that comes to mind is that of older phones.

    If we disregard the other buttons available, the two main interaction points are the two buttons in the rectangle below. And what makes them understandable in different kinds of menus and scenarios is that they're always labeled on the screen above.

    Photo of a classic phone with two buttons

    If one of them is used to circle through the menu while the other one confirms the selection and they're labeled accordingly, it is probably the simplest way to go.



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