Unusable things

28 Sep 2009 - 7:15am
3 years ago
38 replies
3498 reads
Queen Catherine
2009

OK - so we work in the world of digital. Here the affordance is a
perceived one. But what about our real lives?

Here's the thing - I want to start a list of unusable real life
things....

1. Elevator buttons: when I press the wrong floor (which is quite the
frequent occasion in my uncaffienated state before 12pm) why can't I
"unpress" my mistake?

2. Toilet doors: why does one open in and the next out. Furthermore -
why wash your hands when you must touch germ-ridden door handles after
the fact? If there is ever a need to have automatic doors - here it
is.

3. Coffee cups without handles: OK - I'm a great lover of style and
aesthetics, however when it burns my hands off...I'd find it more
classy to have a handle and not have tears in my eyes from lifting my
beloved caffeine to my mouth.

Comments

28 Sep 2009 - 8:40am
Ari Kolbeinsson
2009

Your list makes sense.
nr.1 I hadn't thought about, and it's your fault that this will now annoy me on each and every lift ride.

2. is partly hard to solve, partly easy. The doors should all open outwards. The stall door has to be lockable, using a paper towel to unlock and open takes care of one problem, but for the outer door in a public restroom I've seen a door that only needs pushing (no handle turning) which you can push easily with your foot, so no need for expensive automatic systems. With the right affordance designed into it, this should work well.

3. yup

(I NEED to solve problems ...)

ok, more.
4.vaseline jars (klöver vaseline, popular in scandinavia, springs to mind). No handholds, and does not suggest well how to go about opening it.

5. Stoves
the old ones with rotating buttons for setting each temperature. You can see easily that it's on, but have to do a hunt and match between silly little symbols and the cooker you want.
The new ones with fancy digital systems usually have very strange control mappings. One example is a system with a digital readout for each cooker, a plus(and selection) touch button for each cooker, and a central minus button. Tends to accidentally shut off all cookers. The digital readouts require reading instead of at-a-glance info, and to top it all of, the automatic shutdown if you lift a pot of makes these stovetops unusable for regular use. Stuff like making pancakes is impossible.

6. Digital cameras. (partly software, partly hardware)
One button for each main function. PLEASE.
Manual mode means that you hunt through menus for the focus control (or some other equally central function)

A few more hardware buttons are required, and should not change function based on mode (unless that gets clearly displayed for each button in some way).

7. Baby monitors.
Simple functionality. Please make them simple to use. Again, dedicated hardware buttons and visibility of functions. Having to spend 15 minutes trying to get the transmitter and receiver onto the same channel because you can't see which mode you are in, what the modes do or how you change them is not fun.

28 Sep 2009 - 8:24am
llschertler
2008

I encounter something "unusable" every day! I think there should be a
community list that people can access and add/comment thereto.

--
Laura L. Schertler

"The role of the designer is that of a good host anticipating the needs of
their guest."

~Charles & Ray Eames

28 Sep 2009 - 8:31am
morville
2010

Mark Hurst keeps a list under the "this is broken" label...

http://goodexperience.com/broken/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/65611869@N00/

Peter Morville
President, Semantic Studios
http://semanticstudios.com/
http://findability.org/

28 Sep 2009 - 8:34am
gMulder
2009

"un-pressing" in the elevator is cool - in korea they have that.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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28 Sep 2009 - 8:37am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 28 Sep 2009, at 06:34, gMulder wrote:

> "un-pressing" in the elevator is cool - in korea they have that.

[snip]

Interesting. I did a web site for an elevator company and I talked
about some usability stuff with one of their guys. Amongst other
things they said that they generally didn't do this because many
people press buttons repeatedly - and the toggling behaviour would
cause more problems than it would solve.

I wonder why the difference.

Adrian

28 Sep 2009 - 8:40am
Lisa Rex
2009

In Europe, particularly France, they solve the 'why wash your hands
when you must touch germ-ridden door handles' problem in restaurants
and bars by having a sink for handwashing that isn't behind a closed
door. Or it'll just be a swinging saloon-style door can can be
opened hands-free. It's a toss-up between privacy and hygiene.

@peter: great photos - thanks for sharing those

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28 Sep 2009 - 8:47am
Maurice
2009

Why do they make/sell cars with speed limits over 220KM/h when the
maximum speed limit is 100KM/H. In Toronto getting caught going
20KM/H over the speed limit results in having your car towed and your
drivers license suspended.
So why do the sell cars that is 2-3 times the legal speed limit on
the freeways/highways, not to mention mid town urban/suburban driving
most as us do? Oh yeah, and they're planning to reduce the speed
limit, but I doubt the speedometer will change on the latest models
automobiles.

My 2 cents.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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28 Sep 2009 - 8:47am
Stephen Holmes
2009

Hi Catherine,

Fun post to read late at night here in OZ!

Usability didn't start with the web. Tactile products with usability
issues are generally designed by an Industrial Designer who is
generally trained to deal with these things, however they are often
designed by mechanical engineers who only seem to worry about if they
work or not; not necessarily how people interact with them - so blame
them ;-) TFIC.

(Disclaimer: I started my working life as an Industrial Designer and
have been dealing with usability issues in electronic control systems
for about 25 years now!)

1. Elevator buttons - I agree, however what stops somebody who
un-selects YOUR floor so that they go straight past yours to theirs?
Scenes of "elevator rage" - (pictures at 10!) Solve that one and
you'll be rich!

2. Toilet doors - here in Oz we don't have that issue - public
toilets at least have to push in - building regs. As for washing
hands, that is what a hand drier is for? Germs on door-handles is a
fallacy perpetuated by manufacturers of disinfectant creams and
toilet seat cover salespeople. Germs can't live that long outside a
host.

3. Coffee cups without handles - perhaps there are some designers out
there having a bit of a laugh at everyones' expense (look at the
idiot using those cups that I designed that I designed to look good
but didn't bother testing properly), but maybe the real reason is
that some cups without handles have been designed to work well - I
have cups with a rubberized sleeve and no handles that work really
well. I have seen cheap knock-offs that look the same but will burn
you.

Now my bitch:

4. Apple Mouse - admit it Steve Jobs - two buttons ARE okay on a
mouse. Just move one dude! ;-) TFIC

Stephen

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28 Sep 2009 - 8:51am
Jennifer Vignone
2008

I think it just appeals to the sense of power that drives some people to buy such cars. It's a power, speed, control, 'I have something faster and more dangerous than you' thing to a degree. A car is an extension of some people's persona. For me, I go with the 'something I can leave on the street because no one would want to steal it' approach.

28 Sep 2009 - 9:21am
Ari Kolbeinsson
2009

@Stephen Holmes
Steve Jobs should get a spanking for the apple mouse....

@Jennifer R Vignone
Yeah, that's probably exactly right. The question is why is it allowed. I'm against banning things to put yourself in danger, but when it puts others in danger is a different matter.
I prefer a safe car for myself and my family, for fun (or track days) I would love to have something sillier. But having the speed limited for road use seems ok to me.

28 Sep 2009 - 9:50am
Dave Malouf
2005

uh, here's my thought reading this thread.
1. it is always great to catalog failure. Scott Berkun in his
presentations talks about this a lot.

2. this feels thought a bit off. You start out basically saying "as
a digital designer there is nothing I can do about this, but let's
create a list of issues with items I have no stake in their
creation."

a. we aren't all only digital designers (let's not thread on this
one. It's true, deal w/ it!)
b. complaining about stuff that you have no intention of helping with
feels well like whining. If you are only a "digital designer" but
your interest includes other areas, then learn the skills to do what
interests you instead of just complaining about it.

BTW, I want to 2nd @petermorville's inclusion of @MarkHurst's list
of "This is Broken". Always a fun read!

-- dave

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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28 Sep 2009 - 9:53am
bminihan
2007

Here are a few:

1. Almost everything older than 2 years, these days, is unusable (see blog
post here: http://www.bryanminihan.com/blog/?p=75)

2. Thermostats: A lot of people (everywhere I've lived) have both a heater
and AC. Why can't thermostats automatically switch the heat on, and the AC
off without having to manually switch? You can buy such a beast, but why
isn't it standard?

3. Air Registers: Those clunky metal things on the floor with the
high-gloss thumb controls that only a professional X-box gamer can operate.
They don't block air when closed, and they shoot straight up when open.

4. Outside Electric meters: Why can't the danged thing just tell me how
much money I'm spending/wasting?

5. Smoke Alarms: How hard would it be to make the "hush" button easier to
hit with a broomstick? How many people have these things installed within
arm's reach?

6. Lawn Mower height controls: Maybe it's just mine, but to change the
height of my lawn mower, I have to shift some impossibly gunked up slider on
all four wheels to the exact same position. How about putting some numbers
on those dials, so I don't end up mowing an inverted ziggurat into my lawn.

7. Motion-sensing toilets: Please add a "pause" button. My 6 yo son is
afraid of loud toilets, and the only thing I can do is hold my hand over the
IR sensor until he leaves and plugs his ears.

Bryan Minihan
Phone: 919-428-4744
Email: bjminihan at gmail.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bryanminihan
Resume: http://www.bryanminihan.com/resume.html
Web Portfolio:  http://www.bryanminihan.com/portfolio.html
Blog:  http://www.bryanminihan.com/blog/

28 Sep 2009 - 9:57am
Pierre Roberge
2005

*Catherine said:
*3. Coffee cups without handles: OK - I'm a great lover of style and
aesthetics, however when it burns my hands *off...I'd find it more
classy to have a handle and not have tears in my eyes from lifting my
beloved caffeine to my *mouth.

I read somewhere that in China, cups don't have handles because if it's
too hot for your hands, it's also too hot for your mouth!

Pierre Roberge
Customer Experience Manager, etfs
#2193
819.566.2901
www.etfsinc.com

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28 Sep 2009 - 9:59am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Sep 28, 2009, at 10:53 AM, Bryan Minihan wrote:

> 6. Lawn Mower height controls: Maybe it's just mine, but to change
> the
> height of my lawn mower, I have to shift some impossibly gunked up
> slider on
> all four wheels to the exact same position. How about putting some
> numbers
> on those dials, so I don't end up mowing an inverted ziggurat into
> my lawn.

There are some mowers that have a better interface for this. The Black
& Decker cordless electric mower, for example, allows you to adjust
the height with one hand and shows the height on a gauge. All four
wheels are adjusted evenly with a single control.

Best,
Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Senior Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

If there's anything more annoying
than a machine that won't do what you want,
it's a machine that won't do what you want
and has been programmed to behave
as though it likes you.

- Don Norman

28 Sep 2009 - 10:03am
Pierre Roberge
2005

* Maurice said:
* Why do they make/sell cars with speed limits over 220KM/h when the
maximum speed limit is 100KM/H?

Acceleration? ;-)

Pierre Roberge
Customer Experience Manager, etfs
#2193
819.566.2901
www.etfsinc.com

----------
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity
to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material;
unauthorized use of this information is prohibited. If you have received this in error,
please contact the sender and delete the material immediately.

L'information transmise ne s'adresse qu'au particulier ou a l'organisme a qui elle est dirigee.
Elle peut contenir des renseignements de nature privilegiee et/ou confidentielle.
Toute utilisation non autorisee est interdite.
Si vous avez recu ce courriel par erreur, SVP le retourner a l'expediteur et le detruire.

28 Sep 2009 - 10:12am
.pauric
2006

Catherine: "I want to start a list of unusable real life things...."

Every design will have a subset of users who find it unusable.
There's no such thing as the perfect design.

Its part of the human condition to continuously add to our internal
list of things that peeve us as we get older. Sharing that list is
fun but as practitioners we should be taking a step back from our
individual self imposed qualification on what makes a 'good design'
and try to understand why something is the way it is.

As an aside, the next time you're panicking in the elevator to take
a pee because you drank too much coffee, remember.... everything is
pretty freakin amazing right now and a shit load better than it was
yesterday!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LkusicUL2s

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28 Sep 2009 - 12:27pm
John Gibbard
2008

I used to use pictures of 'real life interaction design' in my
presentations to clients and colleagues to explain what it is I do.
I've always used analogies to explain things and showing something
broken/unusable is great. But, in order to put a positive spin on
things when problems have been solved by design in the real world
I've been tracking some of the 'IA around us' (
http://thisisia.tumblr.com/ ) feel free to contribute.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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28 Sep 2009 - 1:50pm
Mark Schraad
2006

I want all of it. The good, the bad, the lame, the arrogant, simple minded,
the pedantic, the long winded and the short snarkiness. This forum is about
throwing your views out there. There are some week, some months even that I
don't have time to respond to anything... other days I have a (seemingly
valuable in my own mind anyway) take on every topic. It's a forum for
discussion for God's sake... speak and be heard. Even if your idea or your
take gets ripped to shreds... you'll have shared your thoughts and likely
learned something. Odds are someone else has as well. Approach this list
like a video game addict - where in every single game you get defeated...
but come back for another game. I have the option to read or not - to reply
or not. I can choose full messages or dailies or nothing. Bring it and bring
it all.
Mark

On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:27 AM, John Gibbard <john at smorgasbord-design.co.uk
> wrote:

> I used to use pictures of 'real life interaction design' in my
> presentations to clients and colleagues to explain what it is I do.
> I've always used analogies to explain things and showing something
> broken/unusable is great. But, in order to put a positive spin on
> things when problems have been solved by design in the real world
> I've been tracking some of the 'IA around us' (
> http://thisisia.tumblr.com/ ) feel free to contribute.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

28 Sep 2009 - 1:17pm
Charlie Kreitzberg
2008

I recently stayed in a suite hotel (bedroom and kitchen) where I found this
refrigerator.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14179861@N02/

The door is hinged on the wrong side so that it is almost impossible to
unload a bag of groceries and annoying to unload for cooking because you
would need to remove an item and walk around the door to place on the
counter.

Refrigerators are generally built so that the door can be set to open either
way. This is just sloppy thinking.

I photographed it because I felt that it illustrated how a product can meet
functional requirements (e.g. there shall be a refrigerator in each room)
but still be unusable because the actual tasks and context of use are
ignored.

Charlie

============================
Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.
CEO, Cognetics Corporation
============================

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Maurice
Carty
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 6:48 AM
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Unusable things

Why do they make/sell cars with speed limits over 220KM/h when the
maximum speed limit is 100KM/H. In Toronto getting caught going
20KM/H over the speed limit results in having your car towed and your
drivers license suspended.
So why do the sell cars that is 2-3 times the legal speed limit on
the freeways/highways, not to mention mid town urban/suburban driving
most as us do? Oh yeah, and they're planning to reduce the speed
limit, but I doubt the speedometer will change on the latest models
automobiles.

My 2 cents.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

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To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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28 Sep 2009 - 2:02pm
Mark Schraad
2006

my bad... this posted to the wrong conversation.

On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 1:50 PM, mark schraad <mschraad at gmail.com> wrote:

> I want all of it. The good, the bad, the lame, the arrogant, simple minded,
> the pedantic, the long winded and the short snarkiness. This forum is about
> throwing your views out there. There are some week, some months even that I
> don't have time to respond to anything... other days I have a (seemingly
> valuable in my own mind anyway) take on every topic. It's a forum for
> discussion for God's sake... speak and be heard. Even if your idea or your
> take gets ripped to shreds... you'll have shared your thoughts and likely
> learned something. Odds are someone else has as well. Approach this list
> like a video game addict - where in every single game you get defeated...
> but come back for another game. I have the option to read or not - to reply
> or not. I can choose full messages or dailies or nothing. Bring it and bring
> it all.
> Mark
>
>
>
> On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:27 AM, John Gibbard <
> john at smorgasbord-design.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> I used to use pictures of 'real life interaction design' in my
>> presentations to clients and colleagues to explain what it is I do.
>> I've always used analogies to explain things and showing something
>> broken/unusable is great. But, in order to put a positive spin on
>> things when problems have been solved by design in the real world
>> I've been tracking some of the 'IA around us' (
>> http://thisisia.tumblr.com/ ) feel free to contribute.
>>
>>
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> Posted from the new ixda.org
>> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113
>>
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
>

28 Sep 2009 - 3:38pm
Billy Cox
2007

What we need is a button that shocks the user if they press the button
more than necessary. ;-) The type of person that typically acts as
though they can speed up the elevator with multiple button presses
deserves it.

Adrian Howard wrote:
>
> On 28 Sep 2009, at 06:34, gMulder wrote:
>
> [snip]
>
> Interesting. I did a web site for an elevator company and I talked
> about some usability stuff with one of their guys. Amongst other
> things they said that they generally didn't do this because many
> people press buttons repeatedly - and the toggling behaviour would
> cause more problems than it would solve.
>
> I wonder why the difference.
>
> Adrian
> ___

28 Sep 2009 - 4:02pm
cfmdesigns
2004

>From: Stephen Holmes <stephenwholmes at me.com>
>
>1. Elevator buttons - I agree, however what stops somebody who
>un-selects YOUR floor so that they go straight past yours to theirs?
>Scenes of "elevator rage" - (pictures at 10!) Solve that one and
>you'll be rich!

Is that cause of elevator rage going to be any more prevalent than when someone todays punches several buttons that for floors they don't intend to get off on?

But in general, this isn't too difficult to solve. Instead of just pushing the button, cause the push to "lock" the button, and add a small ridge on the button to allow for a finger grip on it (like on the bottom of a non-optical mouse). To turn the floor off, you push and twist the button. While this wouldn't cure people maliciously un-punching your floor, it would allow fixing of mistakes and would prevent most accidental turning off of the button by requiring a small intentionality.

>2. Toilet doors - here in Oz we don't have that issue - public
>toilets at least have to push in - building regs. As for washing
>hands, that is what a hand drier is for? Germs on door-handles is a
>fallacy perpetuated by manufacturers of disinfectant creams and
>toilet seat cover salespeople. Germs can't live that long outside a
>host.

Not long, no. Anywhere from a few seconds to 48 hours (if the surface is damp, as it might be from a guy piddling in the urinal and then not wiping his hand). Or up for 4 days in the case of Hepatitis C.

That said, even if you washed your hands for 30 seconds in hot water with disinfectant soap -- and how many of us do? (three people will pipe up right now) -- you still have a bundle of germs in the ridges of your fingers, under your nails, crawling down your arms, picked up from the air. And most of those are already in you, too. So there's less new stuff you're going to pick up than people are led to fear.

>4. Apple Mouse - admit it Steve Jobs - two buttons ARE okay on a
>mouse. Just move one dude! ;-) TFIC

Move on yourself, dude! Please come out of the 1990s with this old chestnut. Apple sells two-button mice these days. So far as I can tell with a couple minutes perusal, they only sell the Mighty Mouse now.

(Okay, actually this is technically a no-button mouse, but it is configured as two-button by default, I think, and can be set for one button or up to four. I use one of Apple's with my Acer netbook, in fact.)

-- Jim

28 Sep 2009 - 4:10pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

As long as we don't the same type of intelligent lifts as in
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - these were given prescience so
they knew where to be and where to go and as a consequence got
depressed and sulked in the basement...

One subject close to my heart (and other parts) is that of airplane
seats. Okay, there is only a small amount of space, but it's one
area where I think a good user experience person could help make
journeys less tiring.

I seem to recall a programme on British TV in which a couple of
engineers/designers reinvented the aircraft seat and actually did
quite well by challenging a lot of assumptions and putting the work
in. Did anyone else see ths fascinating programme?

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28 Sep 2009 - 9:47am
Himanshu Agrawal
2009

hi everybody,
recently i have been to singapore...in the building where i lived, the lifts
had that facility of selection on single click and de-selection on double
click...i think that used to work really well....
thnx

Himanshu

On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 7:21 PM, Jennifer R Vignone <
jennifer.r.vignone at jpmorgan.com> wrote:

> I think it just appeals to the sense of power that drives some people to
> buy such cars. It's a power, speed, control, 'I have something faster and
> more dangerous than you' thing to a degree. A car is an extension of some
> people's persona. For me, I go with the 'something I can leave on the street
> because no one would want to steal it' approach.
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:
> discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Maurice Carty
> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 2:48 AM
> To: discuss at ixda.org
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Unusable things
>
> Why do they make/sell cars with speed limits over 220KM/h when the
> maximum speed limit is 100KM/H. In Toronto getting caught going
> 20KM/H over the speed limit results in having your car towed and your
> drivers license suspended.
> So why do the sell cars that is 2-3 times the legal speed limit on
> the freeways/highways, not to mention mid town urban/suburban driving
> most as us do? Oh yeah, and they're planning to reduce the speed
> limit, but I doubt the speedometer will change on the latest models
> automobiles.
>
> My 2 cents.
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113
>
>
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Himanshu Agrawal
B.Arch, M.Des(IIT-Kanpur)
+91 9005 850 301

28 Sep 2009 - 9:58am
Colin Krawchuk
2009

As for cups I once asked a wiater in a dim sum restuarant in Calgary
why the tea cups did not have handles and he said if the cup of tea
was too hot to hold in my hands it was probally to hot to put in my
mouth.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

28 Sep 2009 - 11:32am
Daniel Brown
2009

Oh, don't getme started! :)

1. The tendency for humans to stand at the very edge of a baggage
carousel so you can't see your bag, you need to excuse yourself into
the circle when you do see it, then run the risk of injuring someone
getting the bag off the conveyor. If they'd stand back 3 feet...

2. Those little metal "skewers" onto which order tickets in a
restaurant are "stabbed" (along with, presumably, a large number of
fingers, hands, the occasional wrist, and who knows what else.)

3. Devices that "beep" for everything. My microwave beeps when I press
the buttons, beeps when it starts cooking, and beeps when it's done.
I've been wanting to "de-beep" it for years.

4. T-shirts with irritating little tags that either a) annoy you by
itching/poking your neck or b) stick up out of the top of the t-shirt
like a tiny little "I'm a dork" flag.

I'm sure I'll think of more...

Daniel Brown
Sr. Evangelist
GridIron Software

On Sep 28, 2009, at 5:15 AM, Catherine Ryan <catherine at barros.com.au>
wrote:

> OK - so we work in the world of digital. Here the affordance is a
> perceived one. But what about our real lives?
>
> Here's the thing - I want to start a list of unusable real life
> things....
>
> 1. Elevator buttons: when I press the wrong floor (which is quite the
> frequent occasion in my uncaffienated state before 12pm) why can't I
> "unpress" my mistake?
>
> 2. Toilet doors: why does one open in and the next out. Furthermore -
> why wash your hands when you must touch germ-ridden door handles after
> the fact? If there is ever a need to have automatic doors - here it
> is.
>
> 3. Coffee cups without handles: OK - I'm a great lover of style and
> aesthetics, however when it burns my hands off...I'd find it more
> classy to have a handle and not have tears in my eyes from lifting my
> beloved caffeine to my mouth.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Reply to this thread at ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113
>
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29 Sep 2009 - 2:00am
Lena
2009

Hi Chathrin,
have a look here; http://be-useful.net/
a lot of ordinary things should be more useful;
the elevator is already mentioned here, because of the alarm button which is be pressed when you lay on it by mistake - there should be a box around...

best regards
Freundliche Grüße
Lena Kristina Knake

PAGE Verlag
Redaktion WEAVE
Borselstraße 28/Haus i
D-22765 Hamburg

Phone +49/40/851 83 412
https://www.xing.com/profile/Lena_Knake
www.weave.de
---------------------------------
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Ebner Verlag GmbH & Co. KG
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Persönlich haftende Gesellschafterin:
Ebner Verlagsverwaltung GmbH,
Registergericht Ulm, HRB 576
USt.-IdNr.: DE 147041097

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: new-bounces at ixda.org [mailto:new-bounces at ixda.org] Im Auftrag von Catherine Ryan
Gesendet: Montag, 28. September 2009 06:16
An: discuss at ixda.org
Betreff: [IxDA Discuss] Unusable things

OK - so we work in the world of digital. Here the affordance is a
perceived one. But what about our real lives?

Here's the thing - I want to start a list of unusable real life
things....

1. Elevator buttons: when I press the wrong floor (which is quite the
frequent occasion in my uncaffienated state before 12pm) why can't I
"unpress" my mistake?

2. Toilet doors: why does one open in and the next out. Furthermore -
why wash your hands when you must touch germ-ridden door handles after
the fact? If there is ever a need to have automatic doors - here it
is.

3. Coffee cups without handles: OK - I'm a great lover of style and
aesthetics, however when it burns my hands off...I'd find it more
classy to have a handle and not have tears in my eyes from lifting my
beloved caffeine to my mouth.

________________________________________________________________
Reply to this thread at ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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29 Sep 2009 - 2:15pm
sherihy
2008

Ah yes, the alarm button in the elevator. In our apartment building
elevator, it's the lowest button, so it's the first one that all
toddlers learn to push.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

29 Sep 2009 - 4:08pm
Don Habas
2008

"1. Elevator buttons: when I press the wrong floor (which is quite
the frequent occasion in my uncaffienated state before 12pm) why
can't I "unpress" my mistake?"

If I wanted to go to the 20th floor, and a bunch of people were going
to floors below mine, I would just "unpress" all of those. Quite
useful!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

29 Sep 2009 - 11:38pm
cfmdesigns
2004

On Sep 28, 2009, at 9:32 AM, dbrown at gridironsoftware.com wrote:

> Oh, don't getme started! :)
>
> 1. The tendency for humans to stand at the very edge of a baggage
> carousel so you can't see your bag, you need to excuse yourself into
> the circle when you do see it, then run the risk of injuring someone
> getting the bag off the conveyor. If they'd stand back 3 feet...

...then you would be standing there instead? <grin>

> 2. Those little metal "skewers" onto which order tickets in a
> restaurant are "stabbed" (along with, presumably, a large number of
> fingers, hands, the occasional wrist, and who knows what else.)

Are those still prevalent? I can't recall seeing them in years.
Maybe they got discontinued for just this reason?

> 3. Devices that "beep" for everything. My microwave beeps when I
> press the buttons, beeps when it starts cooking, and beeps when it's
> done. I've been wanting to "de-beep" it for years.

That's what happens when you remove the buttons and leave controls
with negligible haptic feedback, so it's got to be replaced by
something (I guess).

Of course, the first thought is "Why can't it be replaced by just
watching the display change?" Then again, the display on my microwave
burned out three weeks ago, so I've been using it from memory. Haven't
torched the cat yet, so I must have a good memory.

I just bought a new one tonight. Fortunately Fry's puts a copy of the
instruction manual inside the shelf models, so I could get some sense
of the UI, since they can't plug them in for you to try out due to
fire issues. May I never have to suffer another microwave which makes
me press Power-0-Time-1:00 to cooke something for 1 minute on Hi! I
noticed that some of the mid-range models had a dial rather than a
keypad. Of course, I couldn't try one out to see it it would beep-
beep-beep constantly as I twisted the dial. Probably would have,
though.

-- Jim

29 Sep 2009 - 10:46am
kmohnkern
2008

On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 12:32 PM, <dbrown at gridironsoftware.com> wrote:
> Oh, don't getme started! :)
. . .
> 4. T-shirts with irritating little tags that either a) annoy you by
> itching/poking your neck or b) stick up out of the top of the t-shirt like a
> tiny little "I'm a dork" flag.

Oh, but wait.

I have some t-shirts without tags. The tag info is printed on the
material inside the back of the neck, where the tag should be.

But early in the mornings, when it's dark in the bedroom and I'm not
wearing my reading glasses, I can't tell where that printing is.
Especially on shirts that have been laundered several times.

So I end up putting them on backwards about half the time. The tag
provides a tactile cue for shirt orientation.

ken

2 Oct 2009 - 3:09am
fecsx
2009

i believe in dynamic products which have multiple touchpoints and
tactility is compatible/synchronized with interface to serve multiple
scenarios.
eventually everything connects as eames said.

1. elevator buttons are weird..aren't they? u have to push buttons
whenever u want to travel vertical:F
2. door handles.. could be self-cleaning
3. if it burns u it's bad design.. u might redesign it by using a
cup holder.. hacking objects can be cool

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

2 Oct 2009 - 11:35am
Chad McNees
2007

ATMs and gas pumps are usable, but they make my brain hurt.

This picture tells the story perfectly:
http://www.cameronmoll.com/img/pics/gaspump1.jpg

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=46113

3 Oct 2009 - 6:18am
Anonymous

At 09:09 PM 10/1/2009, fecsx wrote:
>i believe in dynamic products which have multiple touchpoints and
>tactility is compatible/synchronized with interface to serve multiple
>scenarios.
>eventually everything connects as eames said.
>
>1. elevator buttons are weird..aren't they? u have to push buttons
>whenever u want to travel verticaly

No -- not weird at all in that respect. No
stranger than turning a faucet knob to have water
come down vertically, or moving a slider to control volume.

But ... I did arrange the four light switches in
our kitchen so that left to right they control
lights in that part of the room. Here the
physical arrangement of switches and of the
lights they control can have some relation.

I've another problem with the icons often used on
elevator buttons, which I detailed in my new blog:

http://arthurfink.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/icons-that-won
t-least-for-me

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A r t h u r F i n k Listening, Consulting, Coaching
Common Sense Business Advice

arthur at arthurfink.com 207.615.5722

Blog www.arthurfink.wordpress.com
Consulting www.arthurfink.com
Coaching www.insightandclarity.com

3 Oct 2009 - 6:42am
Elizabeth Buie
2004

At 7:18 AM -0400 10/3/09, Arthur Fink wrote:

>I've another problem with the icons often used on elevator buttons, which I detailed in my new blog:
>
>http://arthurfink.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/icons-that-won
t-least-for-me

That link doesn't work for me, Arthur. I suspect it's the special character
in the middle of "won-t" (which comes across as a sigma to me). What's it
supposed to be? I tried an apostrophe and got a 404.

I've made a blog post about elevator buttons as well -- specifically, that the
"door open" button needs to be larger than the others because it's the one you
need to push in a hurry without having to take time to decipher symbols.

http://www.luminanze.com/blog/2009/03/hold-elevator.html

Elizabeth
--
Elizabeth Buie
Luminanze Consulting, LLC
www.luminanze.com
@ebuie

3 Oct 2009 - 10:52am
Karl Proctor
2008

Elevator Buttons...the number of times I've hit the wrong button in
Shanghai! In some of the better office buildings, you push the button
to select your floor, but if you make a mistake, then you push and
hold the button (for 1-2 seconds) to 'unselect' the floor! Simple!
But, not many elevators I've seen have this function...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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15 Dec 2010 - 9:25am
cris2per
2010

Since Americans want their coffee hot enough to merit a lawsuit, pretty much any mug for coffee will have a handle. But Asians have a very different attitude toward their tea, and leave handles off their drinking vessels.  What about on motion detectors?

Security systems that utilize motion detectors won't function properly if walls and floors are too hot. When an infrared beam is used in a motion detector, it will pick up a person's body temperature of 98.6 degrees compared to the cooler walls and floor. If the room is too hot, the motion detector won't register a change in the radiated heat of that person's body when it enters the room and breaks the infrared beam. Your home's safety might be compromised if you turn your air conditioning off or set the thermostat too high while on summer vacation.

16 Dec 2010 - 11:24am
wendypleiva
2010

Elevators: Indeed, all toddlers seem hopelessly drawn to that nice big red ALARM button.  I learned with great relief that many of them only ring as long as they are pushed, and they stop sounding as soon as you let go.  (I'm not sure that this is the intended design, but it's handy when your child's little fingers are too fast for you to stop them!)  As for why they are so low on the panel, I believe it's so that if a person has a medical event and is stuck on the floor, they can still reach the button.

Bathroom door handles: Here in the US, I've seen foot handles that let you open the door with your foot instead of your hands.  I see these most often in restaurants or grocery stores where employees are expected to maintain excellent hygiene (yay, thanks!).  So someone has given thought and good design to this one.  Perhaps the marketing team simply isn't as good as the design team. :)

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