The edge case isn’t

1 minute read

For every clever idea there’s what’s called an “edge case”, a situation no-one thought about and which is assumed to be a rare event.

Android rocker volume controls

Here’s mine.

  • My alarm wakes me up at sparrowfart.
  • I adjust the volume to shut it up and go back to sleep.
  • I go through my day and think it’s pretty clear, no alarms, no messages, no nothing.

And then I discover I’ve missed a bunch of alarms and people have been messaging me all day.

But the volume control says it’s on maximum. So what’s the problem?

Separate volume controls

Android volume controls
The sound desk

The problem isn’t that Android has separate volume controls for different situations (also know as “Presets”).

The problem is that the physical volume switch (also known as the “Rocker”) is assigned to ONE of these by default.

Smart? Not so much

Android assigns the physical volume control to whatever context is active at the time. When my alarm goes off, I can control the volume for the alarm. When the phone goes off, it controls the call volume.

But outside this context, the user is deceived into thinking the volume is just fine. Why? Because the on screen display says so. And no amount of clever iconography or text is going to change that.

The solution

There is a solution to this mollarkey and it’s this:

Assign a PROPORTIONAL volume control to the master switch.

What will this achieve?

  • You set your volume on each item as required. This is the master volume for each item.
  • You use the master switch to adjust the volume during the day. This adjusts ALL THE CONTROLS in one go, based on the settings you’ve chosen.