Bad interFACE design based on a TOILET example

So I’m reading this book at the moment “Design of Everyday Things” by Donald Norman. It’s good read for all the people that design/create things/software that would be used by others. I realized that I’m paying more attention to how things are design. If they are user friendly etc.

Client that I work for at the moment has one disable toilet with shower. I use this toilet to change and shower when I arrive on my bike to work. There is couple of things in this toilet that made me generally think about the design and find analogy in software, AND more exactly in Web Interfaces. I have stumble upon those issues all the time, on BIG GUN web sites (like banking interfaces) and on small private web sites.

Problem 1

So, I’m on this web site and it has an topic specific content and somewhere along the interface I see a button. Placing it in a context of a site and the interface it should read BLABLA and it should cause BLABLA action. That is what I think because rest of the page and it’s content is giving me this feeling. Now, when I read the button I see BLUBLU. First reaction is confusion, why is this button there and more important what does it do. Pressing this could cause world to go BLUBLU or it could ended in BLABLA. Very often the button is actually doing what I’m thinking of it. But why the dodgy name?

Now, the toilet example. So here we have a button in disable toilet. Placed next to a toilet seat. I would think it has something to do with a emergency or panic button.

But when I take a closer look I see:

Hm ……. Is it a RESET for a missing toilet paper?

Problem 2

On the web site again. This time it’s a banking application. And I’m trying to transfer some money from my current account to my savings account (example old as … as a banking applications). So I read Help/FAQ for my cool online banking system and it says to do BLABLA on BLEBLE page to achieve it. So I go to BLEBLE page and not in a million years I’m able to find it. This example is not specific to banking applications only. I step upon dozen of web application everyday where you read one thing but can’t do the other. Well, with the cool toilet we got here I can see something like this.

I tried hard to find the RED STRIP, and it’s not there. I can see the shavers only wall plug and a hand dryer, but no red strips. The INFO is not only wrong (giving outdated information) is also in a wrong place.

Hit the bottom

When you design an interface, please make sure you think of a people that are going to use it. Put proper labels on your action links/buttons. Don’t give false guidelines for usage and place them in a proper place.

Stay focus, Greg

Ps. Sorry for the poor picture quality. Made with my mobile, plus it’s really dark in there 🙂

3 thoughts on “Bad interFACE design based on a TOILET example

  1. Haha cool story! Where is that emergency red line anyway? You’re absolutely right this sort of thing is all over the net… buttons that do nothing, or the opposite of what they say they will do, or just meaningless navigation. Keep up the great blogging.

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