Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bad Product Design - Ergonomics Fails in Consumer Products

Bad ergonomic design can kill a product ...

"Some gadgets have famously bad designs. The N-Gage gaming cellphone looked like a Chocotaco, and it was nearly impossible to silence the Furby's sadistic squeals without removing its batteries. Thankfully, the days of major companies releasing design trainwrecks are mostly over. That's not to say that every new gadget works the way we want it to. Far from it. Rather, these days, you're far more likely to find a product that almost does it right, but is still plagued by some singular fatal flaw that causes it to be buggy, frustrating, or even physically painful. Here are five recent gadgets whose designs failed in some simple way.

The new MacBook Pro, which was released last October, is a fine piece of computer engineering. It's fast, looks great, and can multitask with the best of them, rarely burdening the user with the spinning pinwheel of death. Unfortunately, it also hurts like hell to use. The problem is that the lower edge of the metal casing is so sharp that typing on the computer can feel like a blade driving into your wrist. Hours after you shut down the machine, your skin will still have raw, damaged, red lines. While I'm sure textbook-proper typing form would prevent this from happening, this is serious punishment for those of us with lax posture.

The MacBook Pro's flawed design is all the more remarkable when one considers that it comes from Apple—a company known for its ergonomics and forward-thinking designs. Over the years, we've used plenty of Apple laptops, and with few exceptions, they've all been a pleasure to use. But now, 20 years after the release of the first Apple laptop, they've decided to build a Ginsu knife into the case. And this is no el-cheapo netbook (few of which have comfortable keyboards)—this is a top-of-the-line computer that starts at $2000."    (Continued via Popular Mechanics)    [Ergonomics Resources]

5 Bad Designs - Ergonomics

5 Bad Designs

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