Friday, 16 July 2010

Usability Design of an Iron

I've just been doing some ironing and suddenly saw the root of an infuriatingly bad design.

Ever get the annoying spit back and bubble blowing when you're re-filling the iron? I certainly do, and I just noticed that the way to avoid it is to put the iron down flat (as if I'm actually ironing something). Great, it no longer spits boiling water at me. However, now I don't know when to stop, as the iron's facility for telling me when it's full only works when it's stood upright!. Plus, I have to put it heating element down, so it's heating something up, or burning the ironing board cover (or worse, my shirt!).

What's the problem? Feedback and joined-up design thinking. There is feedback designed into the design for re-filling the iron, but it hasn't been designed in conjunction with the filling mechanism. Worse still, the filling mechanism has been design assuming the iron is off. I don't know any family men or women that have a small enough ironing pile to get through it with a single, cold fill at the start.

Rant over, I'm going to try and finish the ironing now.

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