Manufacturers of universal remotes put a lot of time and money into the designs of their products. The ergonomics of a particular remote can dictate whether or not it is successful in the marketplace.
For a long time URC (Universal Remote Control) products had a very clunky feel to them. They were able to process dozens of commands so people put up with them. But they were anything but intuitive and were certainly nothing to look at.
Harmony came along and did a fantastic job on the ergonomics of they’re remotes. Buttons were clearly labeled and backlit. The incorporated LCD screen was large enough to see clearly and incorporated clean graphics. This was truly one of first well-made and intuitive remote controls. Of course it’s programming back end was a mess for home theater installers and custom integrators, but eventually this was all remedied.
Going forward manufacturers still seem to struggle with creating a clean and easy to use interface. Phones and tablets are popular, but lack the feedback that true remote buttons have. Home automation products have come a long way towards addressing these issues.