• David Moore

You're not an idiot (well, maybe some of you are ;-)

You're probably a victim of poor design...and just a little click baiting from me :-)


Recently I went to the local medical centre with a migraine and ended up in an ambulance to the emergency department. I stayed in hospital overnight.


Don't worry, dozens of tests proved I had/have nothing wrong with me (but that's another story).


During this time I encountered one piece of new technology with the poorest of designs.


I was hooked up to a heart monitor that remotely communicated with my in-ward monitoring station and the ward nurse station.


It looked something like this, but this isn't the one I had...


The leads were stuck about my body and it wirelessy connected to a server of some kind.


From my experience, it is clear that the designers and makers of the one I experienced had never used it anywhere near the way they expected their customers/patients would.


I was there because my heart was going too fast and they wanted to know why. I did tell them, but that too is another story.


I was supposed to get rest while connected to this device and an overnight saline drip. Yeah, heaps of fun.


The drip was annoying but it wasn't the problem.


The problem was that the monitoring box in bed with me (pictured above) would beep twice...loudly...every so often...for no reason that the nurses could determine or indeed turn off.


There was no need for the beeps. I was being monitored remotely.


The the pair of beeps came at random intervals. Sometimes 3 minutes, sometimes some other number of minutes. Your guess is as good as mine.


Not only that, the actually pair of beeps would vary. Sometimes they happened simultaneously. Sometimes they were seconds apart. Again, random.


So I lay there. Trying to rest. Trying to relax. Trying to lower my heart rate and all the time on edge because I know this random alarm is going to startle me, wake me up and undo all those things.


My heart rate was never going to come down while this stupid machine kept me on edge (and the other things going on...but it was the main problem).


If even one person had used the thing while trying to rest/sleep...at any time between concept and product...then they would have found out that the product is fundamentally flawed. It actually and heavilly influences the very results it is trying to capture.


Ridiculous!


This may seem like an extreme or rare case that could possibly be forgiven (despite the pain it is causing already unwell and stressed people) but it isn't.


Poor design has been making us all feel like idiots ever since design was a thing.


Smart humans designing smart and sexy things that never actually do what they are supposed to.


Or designs things so subtly and insidiously flawed that we don't even notice we are being manipulated into stupidity.


I highly recommend you read the book "The Design of Everyday things".


Buy it locally from Fullers. They don't have them in stock at the moment but pester them and buy local.

You will be amazed how deadly poor design can actually be.


You'll also realise how often...well daily obviously...you are being made a fool by a designer who preferred something that looked good over something that worked.


Ever wondered why you always push on that door you are meant to pull?


Ever wondered why you never turn on the element you want first go on your stove?


Ever wonder why Airbuses kept flying into mountains in the 80s? (Spoiler alert https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Inter_Flight_148).


Ever wonder why you put non-recycleable stuff into the recycling bins?


Ever wonder why you still have to read the instructions on that thing you've had for 20 years?


Well wonder no more.


It is poor design.


Read Don Norman's book. Free yourself :-)


You're welcome.


David

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