Poorly Placed Drawer

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This weeks post is focusing on a poorly designed kitchen layout in an LVC apartment. This design has numerous flaws related accessibility, kinematic load, and mental models. The flaw in this design is due to the placement of the oven door, which doesn’t allow the drawer to be opened the entire way. The only way that the drawer can be opened completely is if the oven door is pulled out. However, this creates an additional issue because the drawer is almost impossible to reach with the oven door in the way.

This design has accessibility issues because it limits the degree to which this system can be accessed by any user. The additional step of having to open the oven to be able to have access to the drawer increases the kinematic load on users by adding additional steps. Finally, this drawer does not meet mental models of how users should be able to access drawers or cabinets in a kitchen.

Solutions to this design could be as simple as installing a different oven that has a oven handle that doesn’t restrict the  opening of the drawer. Other solutions could be removing the drawer all together, or even have the drawer front be glued shut, which would maintain the visual appeal of having but would remove the functionality issues.

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Poorly Designed Street Signs

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While driving this week I encountered a poorly designed system that I often question. The flawed design that I came upon was a local street sign posted before an elementary school. The sign lists when the stated speed limit is enforceable in rather small print that makes reading the sign difficult. Also, this sign could lead to possible accidents that it is intended to prevent.

The flaws in this design are related to both the stages of evaluation, and execution. In order for drivers to properly evaluate the content of the sign, they must be able read the times listed while driving. Because drivers are expected to multitask in this situation, the process of evaluation is slower. This then has a direct impact on their ability to complete the stages of execution. In turn, drivers may not be able to adjust their speed accordingly.

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Shown above is a simple solution to this design flaw. With this design, drivers only have to look at the sign and see if the lights are flashing, rather than reading all of the listed times. This greatly reduces the amount of time drivers spend on preforming the stages of evaluation and execution.  Also, this is an effective incorporation of mental models because drivers tend to slow down when presented with flashing lights. Overall, even though the solution for this flaw may be more costly, it is a much better and practical solution.

Samsung TV Control Button

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This week’s poorly designed system is the button system on my 32″ Samsung TV. Even though this design creates a more simplistic appearance to the TV, it can make carrying out functions without the remote very difficult.

My main issue with this design is that the button(shown above)is located underneath the TV screen. Because of this placement, there is no visual confirmation for users to see what they are pushing. More importantly, someone who never used this TV before would most likely assume that there are no buttons on the TV to adjust volume, channel, etc. Also, this design breaks the mental model of what buttons on a TV look and function like. In this design you must you must press and hold the button to the left or right to adjust the volume. Too change channels, users must move the knob frontwards or backwards.

Even though this design makes the TV more visually appealing, this button would need to be placed on the side of the TV for it to be a more functional feature.

Light Switch Problems

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When moving into my dorm at Lebanon Valley, one of the first issues that I encountered was what I believed to be a power outage. I was lead to believe this because when I first flipped the light switch the lights didn’t come on. After talking to other people in my hallway, we all seemed to encounter the same problem. When I investigating the issue further, I realized that there is a second switch located on the lights that then turned on the light.

This issue could simply be avoided by removing the second switch located on the light. This would be an affective use of a constraint, which limits the actions that can be preformed on a system. Also, this design challenges or doesn’t match our mental models of how light switches should work. For example, we often associate flipping a switch up as a way to turn something on but this does not occur with this design unless the switch on the light itself is also turned on.

In order to avoid this issue, many people tape the light switch on the wall so that they only need flip the switch located on the lights. Although this is a simple solution to the problem, it increase the kinematic load upon students and doesn’t create the ideal solution to the issue.