Category: bad design diary

Bad Design Diary: E-Brake Pedal

This is an example of when bad design can actually be life-threateningly dangerous. When functionality and design aren’t tested properly through usability tests and just plain standing-back-and-looking-at-it, then this is what you end up with. This is from my van – a Honda Odyssey. And every single time I get into the van wearing jeans, I experience this issue. And it’s not only when I get into the van. It’s when I’m driving. I’ll move my foot, and my jeans leg slips right over the e-brake pedal. This keeps me from being able to move my left foot until I reach down and pull up the pant leg.

Of course it would be worse for something to catch your right leg, but I do use my left foot occasionally for braking. Sometimes it’s more practical and a lot less work – especially in traffic. This, friends, is dangerous. Let’s have a look at a collage. Here you’ll see a picture of my foot beside the pedal and then caught on the pedal.

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Bad Design Diary: Cruddy Cupholder

My red-haired wife and our friends and do a lot of sitting on the driveway. Just about every night, and certainly every weekend. We sit out there drinking Cold Ones and starting at the lake, telling stories, playing guitars, Danae and I singing together, smoking cigars, skinning catfish – whatever. The point being we’re always out there, and the easiest way to accommodate all this madness is fold-up chairs. These things are pretty comfortable, and they’re great for space-saving when you’re done with them. They fold up and stand in the corner of the garage. The problem is, they don’t last very long.

Well, this black chair has one more problem in particular. It’s the top-dollar version of the chair. It used to have a footrest and all that, which is another bad design in and of itself. But today we’re going to talk about the cupholder. Have a looksee.

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Bad Design Diary: Tiny Bathroom

My wife and I are in San Antonio for a conference. We’re staying in a relatively nice hotel room. This room is actually a pretty nice suite. It has a living room area with couches and ottoman, a bar area with a special sink and a mini-fridge, and then the bedroom area which includes the vanity, the bathroom and the closet. It’s a pretty nice arrangement. Nothing wrong so far.

Until we enter the bathroom…

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Bad Design Diary: Laptop Latch

My work laptop has a button latch on the front of it. You must press in the button to open the screen. Now this is a really wide notebook, having the ten-key pad on the right side and all that, so it’s like sixteen inches wide. The problem with the button is that it’s pretty wide itself, being about and inch and a half. And the problem with that is that you must press in the whole button. Not just the left side, say, because then it will only pop the left release and the right side of the screen will still be locked.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. It takes two hands to open the screen. No, not one on the latch and one on the screen. I mean two on the screen, while a mysterious third hand presses in the button. Now it can be done with two hands total if you press it just right and lift right in the middle of the screen. However, I like to lift from both corners simultaneously, so as not to stress the screen.

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Bad Design Diary: Shower Faucet

I’m beginning a new series about bad design. Being a designer, I’m constantly thinking about it, and thus also always spotting bad design. One of the assignments my instructor assigned at the design conference in New York a few months ago, was to spot and record five things wrong with our hotel rooms. That was easy. I’m always looking out for areas that could use improvement.

But I won’t simply be complaining about bad design. I’ll also be offering up a solution. These will certainly be my own ideas, and not necessarily the best resolutions, but definitely better than the complaint I encountered. These will be short posts – not my usual 700-words-or-better columns I post. They will also have their own category for easy sorting and grouping. So come along with me as we look at some bad design.

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