Sunday, October 16, 2005

Broken Things I

Here's a first stab at some of the things we may want to turn our attention to here:

ATMs: There are a whole variety of these, but there doesn't seem to have emerged many standard ways of doing things. Different banks use different systems, buttons change their functions 3 or 4 times during a single task, user choices are presented in seemingly arbitrary sequence: The result seems to be constant re-learning and the impossibility of leveraging prior experience. What a mess.

Friends Reunited: When I asked Charlotte to think of something broken, she named the venerable FR without a moment's hesitation. Slow, counter-intuitive, and paid-for, to boot. Getting worse too, Charlotte tells me.

TV Remote Controls: There's no end of material in this one, and the recent comparisons of Windows Media Centre PC handsets with Apple's iMac/FrontRow remote control is only a part of the story. The whole operation of tv sets and recorders is worth looking at, including the implications of an iTunes model on TV design.

Pret a Manger Vegetarian Sushi: I picked one of these up recently for lunch, and while the Sushi was fine the packaging really irked me. There's a bunch of stuff that needn't be there, including a little plastic bottle and separate cap for the soy sauce, some plastic that's purely decorative, and a set of telescoping plastic and wood chopsticks that really aren't practical for reuse. A more environmentally-friendly redesign is needed methinks.

To come: Central Heating Controls, Mobile Phones (where to begin?), Moodle, DV Cameras. What else?

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Blogger mike priddy said...

Can I add to the list compact digital photographic cameras and in particular their menu systems?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Robert Sharl said...

Yes! Documenting a few different systems would be a good idea, and proposing a better method if possible. That would probably involve redesigning the camera too, tying its menu options to physical design attributes, rather than making them abstract decisions.

1:39 PM  

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