DesignNotebook

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Toaster: 

Toaster This fairly new toaster has the typical settings, including a dial that allows the user to control the temperature with relative ease and a button to stop toasting immediately. However, the really interesting part of the design is that the slots are large enough to allow things that normally get jammed in toasters, such as halves of bagel, while clamping down on the sides (when the toast leaver is pressed) to heat even the thinnest of toast-worthy items. Furthermore, the slots sink downward when toasting begins and pop back up afterward, allowing you to heat more while not needing to dig inside a hot crevice for smaller toast-ables. I’ve had quite a few joys with this luxury. This product was designed the user in mind, incorporating the different types of foods they would want to toast and taking into account the size of human hands that would be reaching into the toaster to retrieve toasted goods. Anthropometric hand-size metrics were most likely employed.

Wide Microwave: 

Wide Microwave This is a newer (circa 2005) microwave that has many of the standard microwave features. The interesting thing to note about this microwave is that it is extremely wide. They manufactured it this way to fit in cabinet spaces that were wider than typical microwaves so that it would snugly fit against the walls and be held in place tightly, most likely to avoid worst-case-scenarios, such as earthquakes knocking it out of place. It may have also been merely for aesthetics. In geometry, a circle inscribed within a rectangle will be of the same radius as one inscribed within a square having sides of length equal to that of the rectangle’s shortest. Because the microwave is much wider than it is deep, the circular rotating platform does not reach two of the sides and hence doesn’t heat all part of the meal uniformly, as the heat dissipates more quickly on the sides than in front or back. This microwave is an example of “things that don't work well together” from the bad design examples presented near the beginning of the course. The size clearly doesn’t fit the function of the microwave.

Cutco Trimmer: 

Cutco Trimmer Cutco sells high quality kitchen cutlery and other accessories by appointment only because it is difficult to demonstrate its products many great qualities without a knowledgeable sales person and hand-on use. The trimmer is their most versatile and widely used product. It has an ergonomic grip designed to fit almost all hands, big and small, left and right. The bulge in the center of the grip prevent the knife from slipping out of the user’s hand, making it much safer. The full tang, nickel fittings and stainless steal blade ensure high durability. It has special blade teeth that form and upside-down ‘U’ to increase cutting surface area and remain extremely sharp, making sharpening necessary only after extremely long (i.e. approximately three years). It was definitely designed with the user in mind.

Cutco Scissors: 

Cutco Scissors Cutco’s scissors are extremely useful and, in my opinion, their best product. The blades have tiny ridges that make them extremely sharp when applied to materials but are safe even if someone runs their hand across the blade. The pivoting jaws make it extremely powerful and the scissors can cut through extremely strong materials, including pennies and chicken bone. The two sides are separable and they are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They work extremely well on normal materials as well and are much safer for opening packages. Multi-functionality, user safety, and ergonomic design demonstrate the lengthy design process that was required to come up with such a great product.

Ergonomic Chair: 

Ergonomic Chair This classy-looking, extremely-comfortable, and fairly expensive resting chair is much more than your average recliner. When you lean back in the chair, it arches in an ergonomically correct fashion, giving you proper back support, and resisting any reclination with a proper degree of force. You feel very comfortable in any position. Furthermore, it comes with a detached footstool which is elevated to the appropriate height for most humans and can be placed at any length from the chair. One complaint I do have about the chair is that I find the color somewhat repulsive. But it does spin in place and allows easy access to nearby objects, such as coffee tables and other stands. I’ve fallen asleep in this chair far too many times.

Excalibur Forever Flashlight Dynamo Edition: 

Excalibur Forever Flashlight Dynamo Edition This flashlight has three LED bulbs that shine bright blue. It has three modes: off, 1 bulb, and 3 bulbs. When on in one mode, pressing the button once always returns the flashlight to off mode and the next press will put it into the other on mode. It is very durable with comfortable, ergonomic rubber grips. The best feature of this flashlight is that it does not require batteries. Turning the dynamo crank for one minute efficiently generates about 45 minutes of battery life. This tool is great for emergencies when batteries are in short supply and lights are blacked out.

Retractable Dog Leash: 

Retractable Dog Leash This sleek and attractive dog leash adds many features that help humans interact with their best friends. The lead extends from two feet to twenty-five feet and has two modes which are activated by using the thumb-button at the top of the grip. The first mode auto-adjusts the leash so that it is always just slightly relaxed, keeping the leash off the ground, away from getting tangled in the dogs feet, and not taught enough to hurt the dog’s neck. The second mode hold the lead at the current length in order to gain quick control of the dog who wanders too far, tries to fight other animals, etc. The grip is comfortable, fitting most hands with it’s ergonomic curvature. The flashlight helps keep users safe while walking their dogs at night and can allow you to see dog droppings. The entire device is very sturdy and durable while still being lightweight and not causing fatigue on the user’s wrist or palms. This multi-utility dog-leash is fairly inexpensive but alleviates many dog-walking issues.

Mutt Mitt Dog Doo Bag: 

Mutt Mitt Dog Doo Bag Mutt Mitt makes cleaning up dog droppings easy and sanitary. It is a white bag with a black bottom. Simply grab the black tab in the white end, grab the feces in the black end, flip the white end over the black end and tie the white end. This bag makes the horrible task of picking up a dog’s feces much more convenient and can help keep one’s community clean. The bag is designed to fit most people’s hands and solves a difficult problem in the interest of society. Don’t walk your dog without one.

No Whats? Where? Sign: 

No Whats? Where? Sign This sign on a state beach is rather amorphous in its depiction. They are placed every 100 ft or so, facing inland, in the sand just at the apex of high tide’s reach. My first impression was that it was a ‘no birds’ sign’. In actuality, it’s suppose to tell beach-goers that dogs are prohibited. However, the red strip covers the dogs forefeet, and due to the signs tilt in the sand, it can easily be interpreted otherwise. Furthermore, the sign doesn’t indicate where dogs are prohibited. Because it is practically in the water at high tide, many users assume it only means ‘no dogs in the water’, not ‘no dogs on the beach’. The designers of this sign obscured its true meaning by superimposing an opaque image and placing the sign in an ambiguous locale. Clarity and functionality were lower priorities than drawing dog droppings. The sign fails to get its message across, like many of the poor examples from early in the course.

Beach Campground Shower: 

Beach Campground Shower This crooked shower stand can be found outside a campground restroom at the beach. It is not meant to be a personal shower, but one in which you can wash sand off his or her body and especially his or her feet. First, it is extremely difficult to hold the button while using soap, rinsing wet clothes, or trying to lift one’s feet to get send off. Because it reaches more forward, those with a shorter reach have even more trouble reaching the button. Furthermore, it is very public and makes it very difficult to cleanse areas that sand or dirt often hide in. Perhaps a curtained booth and a vertical body would have been cheap and feasible solutions. It was not designed with the user or anthropometrics in mind.

The Urinal: 

The Urinal One of the greatest joys in my life, the urinal has many features in its design that truly make the equipped user’s experience ecstatic. Because no sitting is necessary, urination is much more accessible, expedient, sanitary, and does not require the user to unfasten their pants or belts. Splash guards are present in most models and prevent splatter from reaching the user. The large target requires less effort in aiming and a much larger margin for error, especially for individuals who are intoxicated or lazy. Furthermore, there is no seat cover to remember to put down and hence no worries about angry and upset significant others. One last joy that can be found in urinals is the ability to communicate and share ideas with your comrades in a face-to-face conversation while satisfying nature’s call. Ease-of-use, functionality, accessibility, efficiency, and safety are all part of the design of this great wonder of the world, the urinal.

RV Pop-Out Walls: 

RV Pop-Out Walls Recreational Vehicles (RV) have always been pioneering the home on the road. One of the largest constraints is space. A rather recent, but now ubiquitous feature found in RV’s are walls that extend outward while the RV is parked, giving the users more space inside. The rear area of this RV gives some extra foot-room in the sleeping quarters, and the front extended area allows the dining area of the RV to fit more. It doubles as a sleeping area, as well. Anthropometrics are extremely important in designing such confining domains for humans. For example, the distribution of heights of people that use RV’s was used to interpret the marginal value of added sleeping space within the camper. If it already fit 95% of the intended users, adding an extra foot would not add much value to the product.

Beach House: 

Beach House This rather expensive (~$2MM) beach house, lies less than 150 feet from the San Andreas fault, less than 15 feet above sea level, less than 300 feet from the Pacific Ocean at high tide, and on top of a small ravine. Two-thirds of it is precariously held up by triangular stilts below. Though the location is beautiful, it would be a very dangerous place to live. Storms and earthquakes are fairly common in the area and could easily cause the house to slip into oblivion. It also costs about $30K/year to maintain. The architect should have thought more carefully about the engineering concerns involved.

MAXIM Magazine Front Cover: 

MAXIM Magazine Front Cover Maxim Magazine supposedly targets the younger male audience and hence displays beautiful scantily clad women across its magazine cover to attract attention. It also typically says the lady’s name on the left as if readers should already know who she is, and mentions something of a sexual nature in bold, prominent letters. Similar to David Goines’ style, few but attractive hues are used on the page (typically red and yellow with black and white being derived from their relative darkness), bodies are in somewhat swirled positions to entrap the reader in the lady’s sexy figure, and bodies break the frame and cover parts of words that are hopefully already known.

Prof. Goldberg’s Webpage: 

Prof. Goldberg’s Webpage This sleek, sexy and elegant website has flashy and exciting animations that only an expert could design. It is easily navigable, with has all major links readily available and information presented efficiency. The low color contrast with a dark background makes it easy on the eyes and the reddish/orange high lighting makes it easy to understand where you are on the page. However, the websites animations can be startling and confusing at first and it can be incompatible with older web-browsers or internet connections that take too long to download the content. Overall, a masterpiece that follows most major web-design guidelines and impresses almost any user.

My Webpage: 

My Webpage This unattractive website is easy to navigate, with all major links readily available. It is coded in very simple HTML, opens extremely quickly and is compatible with almost any web-browser. Like Professor Goldberg’s, the color contrast and brightness are easy on the user’s eyes. The line breaks make locating information more efficient. On the downside, though the site is very functional, it isn’t too visually appealing. Furthermore, it can be very difficult to update because there are no standardized forms in the substructure.

Lengthy Auto Sub-menus Windows Start & DI.FM: 

Lengthy Auto Sub-menus Windows Start & DI.FM Menus that open the next sub-menu when you hover over it can make navigation difficult, such as the Windows Start Menu and the www.di.fm music menu. If you unintentionally scroll over things, they sometimes overlap with what you are really trying to open. Furthermore, the menus slow down system response time when opening new menus. Essentially, they act in a manner sometimes unexpected by the user, similar to the commercial airliner altitude controls.

Facebook.com Search Feature: 

Facebook.com Search Feature Facebook, a group networking website similar to myspace.com but focusing on students has an extremely poor (even though recently overhauled) search feature. It allows only 3 constraints, a text field, one of five constraints on that field, and a geographic location field. After that, you must search through pages with only 10 items per page, for the person you are trying to locate. Suppose you made a new friend named Bob and you remember a lot about him, but not his last name. You can either sift through all the people named Bob at a particular school, or search through everybody in an organization he is a part of. However, you cannot search for people named Bob in that organization who are a 3rd year student living in the SAE fraternity. A key aspect about any site, as noted in lecture, is a decent search function, especially for a site that is essentially a gigantic database.

Google Desktop - Sidebar: 

Google Desktop - Sidebar Google Desktop comes with a sidebar that pops out of the side of your screen when your mouse cursor moves over it’s area, as long as that area isn’t part of a key feature, such as a close/minimize bar. It is packed with useful and customizable information, such as news, weather, maps, photos, and my favorite, a scratch pad. I use the scratch pad to keep track of everyday tasks, but they are easily hidden by moving the cursor away once I find or write the information I’m interested in. Furthermore, easy access to news that is customized to my interests based on artificial learning and easy access to my favorite photos makes this program fulfilling to use. The text is an appropriate size, scroll bars don’t pop unless they are needed, features are easily resized, and the options page is extremely simple but useful. It is definitely customized for the individual user. One last feature that deserves significant notice is that Google Desktop archives your entire hard drive and indexes it like Google.com does for the web. You can then search your heard drive with amazing precision, rather than using Microsoft’s find feature that takes quite a few minutes and rarely returns useful information. It even searches on the fly while you type in the search field.

The Spork: 

The Spork The Spork is a utensil whose name is derived from the two utensils from which it derives its functionality: the spoon and the fork. It is intended to perform both the functions of holding liquid materials in the bowl while being able to stab foods like a fork. However, liquids often slip through the slits at the tip and foods rarely stick to the fork portion because they are 1) so short and 2) so wide. An indication of The Spork’s failure is its ubiquitous unpopularity. It may have caught on for a few years, but it did not last long. By trying to add too many features to a product, The Spork was a failed invention. Sometimes specializing in simple functions makes a product that much more worthwhile, just like having a cell-phone with so many features that you cannot get to the essential ones.

Coffee Cup: 

Coffee Cup This cardboard with wax covering coffee cup has both good and bad features. It is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and is bio-degradable. It is also easy to crush and fit in trash cans and its size typically fills the average human desire for coffee while fitting nicely in many common drink holders. However, this product does not fare so well under heat, which it was designed to contain. It is rather hot on the outside, and even with an extra cardboard ring that they usually give out, it still tends to burn any hand that holds it, even if one can manage to keep their hand on that inch-tall ring. Furthermore, the heat tends to bring out toxins in the wax that are unhealthy for the drinker. Luckily for Starbucks, a majority of its customers are more concerned about the environment than themselves.

Escalator Layout and Signage: 

Escalator Layout and Signage Escalator layouts are often rather confusing, especially in buildings where you cannot see both directions at the same time, even for the experienced user. Many people end up walking to the wrong escalator as there are rarely the simple but useful signs directing people in the direction they should go to find the appropriate escalator. It does make some sense to be able to get off one and continue in the same vertical direction by getting on a nearby escalator, but finding the correct entrance when starting on any particular floor is difficult. Though often classier, more visually appealing, and perhaps more efficient than an elevator, areas near escalators do not give sufficient instruction to users.

Guild Wars Revolutionary MMORPG: 

Guild Wars Revolutionary MMORPG Guild Wars is a revolutionary Mega Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. It uses spectral luminance to give its visuals euphoric feeling. It is the only professionally developed MMORPG that doesn’t require a subscription fee, and it provides an immense amount of character customizability by limiting skill selection to 8 out of 300 skills (150 per each of the 2 of 8 professions chosen) and also allows players to color their own armor. In order to deal with latency issues and avoid many of the game-play pitfalls of other MMORPGs, it instances all combat areas while holding all players on the same server. It dynamically matches competitors, similar to the ground-breaking battle.net system. The user-interface is very simple and clean, leaving extraneous options in easily accessible but non prominent places.

AXE Deodorant Bodyspray: 

AXE Deodorant Bodyspray AXE Deodorant was one of the first deodorants to make the evolution from solid and liquid deodorant to aerosol form. It is much more convenient to simply spray its deodorant over your body, in a similar manner to colognes and perfumes. However, unlike typical anti-odorants, AXE is not harmful the body and actually smells how users would want to smell, rather than how they would want their rooms to smell. On the leading edge, not only in terms of product evolution, but also in advertising, AXE has posted some of the more risqué adds that can be seen on television and in magazines. It was one of the first companies to advertise with fully nude (but censored) models and directly imply that using it would help you attract others for sexual encounters. Its advertisement typically forces viewers to focus on the center, with important words standing out, using typically only one hue in addition to easy-on-the-eyes black with white lettering.

Music Jukebox Visualizations: 

Music Jukebox Visualizations Winamp, a personal-computer music jukebox, comes with a visualization package, as do many others. They tend to change patterns and colors to the beat of the music that is playing and extend listening to music to the visual realm, which is often appealing for people trying to relax or lose themselves in alternate realities. The style of most, including Winamp’s default visualization feature, is similar to that of David Goines. Patterns swirl toward the center keeping people’s attraction and no more than two hues are ever used (blue and yellow in the example to the right). In their vivid simplicity, visualizations programs have become extremely popular among music listeners.

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