An almost clever water dispenser

Here’s your standard water dispenser – you’ve probably seen many of them and most look similar.

A standard water dispenser

A standard water dispenser

You’ve got cold and hot taps which you operate with the red and blue handles.

And now here’s the dispenser which I now face daily:

The "clever" water dispenser

The “clever” water dispenser

At first glance the only difference is that instead of handles you now have to press buttons – blue for cold and red for hot.

Here’s what I’m guessing the designers thought:

  1. Hey, let’s not use those old fashioned handles and instead put cool buttons – it’ll look much nicer.
  2. Yeeeaahhh! We’re awesome!
  3. Oh wait, there’s a small problem – it’s now really easy to unintentionally press the wrong one.
  4. Well hot is used much less than cold… let’s put 2 red buttons so it’s harder to make a mistake.
  5. But let’s make them really small, so it looks better.
  6. We’re awesome again!

Well in the end… the buttons are so small that are actually hard to press and by the time my tea cup is full my fingers are already hurting. So the clever workaround was only meant to hide a general usability problem – the use of buttons instead of something that’s better anyway.

My point – “new” does not always equal “better”. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. While redesigning keep in mind that it’s supposed to be used by humans.


A few Kindle Paperwhite flaws

A few months ago I wrote this absolutely positive review of my Kindle Paperwhite. To be fair (nothing is flawless) now the time has come to mention a couple of things that made a not so good impression.

First stop: the settings menu.

It offers me to shop for new stuff, restart, reset, etc. Maybe the problem is not immediately evident, but notice how “Restart” and “Reset Device” are placed next to each other (both begin with the letters “Res”and contain a “t” at some point after). Surely many people have misread the second option as “Restart Device” and pressed it instead. Now I’m quite certain that after pressing “Reset” you’ll get a dialog box asking you if you were sure (actually I’ve never tried it, because I’m scared that no dialog will appear and all my settings will be lost). But what if you don’t read it? After all – you’re used to being asked to confirm a restart… The simplest solution is quite obvious – just place “Reset Device” as the last option or rephrase it.

Restart and Reset placed right next to each other.

Restart and Reset placed right next to each other.

Second problem: “Personal Info”

Now you have the chance to personalize your Kindle. There’s an option called “Personal Info” and the caption only tells you that it’s gonna be used to identify your device. Pressing it brings up a modal window where you can insert your personal information. OK, but still I don’t understand what this is for! Here the designers had the opportunity to write a few more lines and actually tell you where this is going to be used and what kind of information is expected to go there, but they missed it. Should I input my favorite color? Or maybe my bank account info?

What is the "Personal Info" for?!

What is the “Personal Info” for?!

Still those are relatively minor flaws which are not enough to change my opinion – it’s a wonderful device 🙂

My Kindle Paperwhite

I got it 3 months ago and have been very happy with it.

I don’t want this to turn into yet another Klinde review, so the technical stuff will be short and with a smaller font (hint: just skip it) 🙂

– the display is amazing! Absolutely no problems with reading outside (even when it’s sunny).
– the touch screen is good enough.
– screen transitions are fast enough (quite slow actually, but you’re reading a book not watching a movie so it doesn’t really matter).

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite (Photo credit: Zero2Cool_DE)

Continue here 🙂

For those of you who think “why don’t you just buy a tablet – you can use for a lot of stuff + ebooks”: This thing actually MAKES you read! You know you just bought a cool new gadget and you wanna use it. This effect goes away in a couple of weeks, but the habit remains (I really, really hope it does). It’s small, light, you can carry it around (and read for 20 minutes on the bus), show off your own style with various cases and skins. It makes the whole experience of reading different, personal, modern.

People usually like what they’re reading, right? If they didn’t – they’d just put the book aside. Therefore every time you use your Kindle you’re having a good time. How could you then possibly not like it? Add good usability and nice looks – you see how Kindle Paperwhite has the potential of turning into one of your favourite possessions.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot: tap and hold on a word and an Oxford Dictionary definition of the word appears (so simple, yet so cool) !!!