Great Aesthetics, Good Notes, Bad Design!

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Whenever I see an object with a specific note attached to it, to me that means bad design. It doesn’t matter how aesthetically great the product looks. I experience so many day-to-day objects of usage with glaringly bad design yet with great aesthetics, I thought I’d jot down few that irritate me the most.

So, consider this as one of those “rant” posts!

Here we go. Some examples of great aesthetic design gone functionally bad (most personally experienced so often I could recount them all in a witness box!):

  • A glass door entry with glass panels on either side. The aesthetic genius(?) is that all the four panels (Two fixed and two door panels) look the same from all angles – we’re really talking great design here. Effect: Every two of four people trying to enter actually bump into the fixed panels! Finally ended up with two A4 size printed notes on each fixed panel (either side!): THIS IS NOT A DOOR. PLEASE USE THE OTHER ONE.
  • The swiveling glass door that is aesthetically so cool it’s got the same look on hinged and loose side. Effect: Every one of two People bumps into the hinged side!! This time note is: OPENS AT THE OTHER END
  • A swivel door that opens only in one direction – inside. But got door “handles” on both sides. Effect: You see people that are trying to enter also pulling it first only to realize later it’s supposed to be pushed! After all it’s got a gripping handle with great looks screaming out “Pull me!” Note follows: PUSH (Most common problem!)
  • A water tap with a wrist action like handle. Except that in this one, the handle needs to be pushed in. (Can’t we instead have a push button?!). No note here! Figure it out!
  • A basin with long tap, the knob is located such that it’s impossible to open the tap without getting your wrists drenched! No note in the world can help, may be something like “Remove your watch”?!
  • A great looking flush in a toilet. The note above it says: “Please press gently. If you still see water getting flushed after some time, please press the other lever. And if both do not work, please call…(numbers). Thanks for the concern and helping us in our quest for water conservation” (!!!?)
  • A very nice looking soap dispenser in a toilet. Just below that are laid down few folded tissues, you will know why. Note says: Please press the dispenser knob gently to avoid overflow!
  • After few days, the nice looking soap dispenser is replaced with even nicer looking one. Only that, this time, the press-button actually tests your thumb power. (Note: Wanna clean hands, train your thumbs!) And that’s probably good for work: stronger thumbs = better keyboard output?
  • Few days later they go back to the previous loose one! This time it’s more than the press button that’s loose. The dispenser rotates with an extra degree of freedom (how do they manage to do it?)– hence wider bed of tissues! Note changed too. This time –  “…Press gently and carefully…
  • A beautiful laptop with mouse pad design coordinated with the design casing! Comes with free lamination strips for mouse pad. Reason? Mouse pad with nice little engraving ended up too rough for fingers!!!
  • A flip open cell phone cover, expensive one, aesthetically great! The problem? Flip open the cover, take the call and while talking the flap is actually flapping against chick and lips! Hello Mr. Spock? Was it ever tested by really using a cell phone with it? Even once?

I mean, how in the world such basic things can get overlooked! For doors it could be as simple Putting a flat bar for Push and a handle for Pull. No notes needed! I miss Howard Roark.

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  1. #1 by Ankur Jain on May 6, 2010 - 8:48 am

    I understand where you have seen “Please press gently. If you still see water getting flushed after some time, please press the other lever. And if both do not work, please call…(numbers). Thanks for the concern and helping us in our quest for water conservation” 😉

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