Bad Design #49 – hook me up, or something

It’s nice how designers come up with little details that serve no purpose. I guess it keeps them busy…and employed.

Sometimes it’s just about the illusion of purpose. In that case it’s a marketing ploy, well done, we’re extending your contract. But if it’s not, then I don’t see the point.

Take for example the hooks designers implement on the tongues of shoes. Like these on my hiking boots.

What purpose do they really serve?

I’d say nothing. So why add them?

We’ve all done it. We’ve threaded our laces through them, crossed our fingers, and prayed they would do something. And?….nothing.

Firstly, they don’t stop your shoe’s tongue from sliding down to your toes. That was never even a problem.

Secondly, they don’t stop your shoe’s tongue from sliding either left or right, as you can see below. This is how my shoes end up at the end of the day. This side sliding is made even more obvious on this particular design, thanks to the orange strip the designer has decided to place right down the middle of the tongue. The orange strip is a great indicator…

Indicator of failure!

 

These tongue/lace hooks have been around for years, is that the reason we continue to see them, despite their uselessness? Perhaps.

Designers know that users get used to features and certain looks, and if we suddenly change them the user can become disorientated and a product can become unfamiliar. Which can lead to an “unknown” reason for disliking a product. Users don’t know why, but something just doesn’t feel right. This happens when external knowledge suddenly does not match the internal knowledge. This gap is the cause of ambiguity.

Perhaps I’m just using them incorrectly. My god, all these years!!

But if I am using them incorrectly, it is not my fault. It is bad design. Surely they don’t expect me to RTFM, it’s not rocket science…

Summing up, if it serves no purpose, why include it?….anybody?

 

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