In the last meeting room I was in, in a very modern building, this thing was attached to the wall.
I didn’t give it a second thought, I just assumed it was a proximity card reader. But because I didn’t require the use of a proximity card, I didn’t confirm my assumption.
That is of course, until we began searching for the light switch.
Could it? Could it be?
I reached out to it, and as I did, two LEDs came on, and a halo illumination around the thing also came on. Oh, that’s interesting…
You can see, the device is divided into 3 sections. I attempted to press the bottom one. Actually I attempted to press the ‘right’ side of the bottom section. Again “assuming” that if this was a light switch, then the large button will toggle one way or the other for on/off as per my cultural constraints had taught me. When that didn’t work, I pressed the ‘left’ side of the bottom section…..again nothing.
I pressed the middle section, again, right and left….still nothing.
Then I pressed one of the LEDs.
After a slight delay….
The lights turned off. Yay!!
Ok, so now I know what the device on the wall is, and
I have learnt how to turn the lights on and off.
That’s right, I had to “learn” how to turn the lights on/off. This is a terrible design.
There are more issues with this design which I won’t go into, like what do the LEDs on/off status indicate? are they associated with the status of the lights? why is there a delay from press to lights on/off? But the mere fact that I had to “learn” to use a light switch is enough to show there is a problem here.
We all like nice and sleek designs, but when the aesthetics create barriers for the user, we need to take a step back. There is no reason form and function cannot work harmoniously, you just need to find the right balance.
How many light switches are there in the world?
Now that’s an opportunity.
Citizenrod | art | design | think