citizenrod bad design postit pad stack
citizenrod bad design postit notes pad different

Hey! who’s the wise guy that flip flopped my post it notes?

Oh wait….that’s how they are…?

What an odd thing to do. What an odd design.

Different? Yes. Improvement? No.

What is the purpose of alternating each post-it note? I’m not sure, somebody will need to explain it to me.

So what is the problem with alternating post-it notes? A few things actually, but the biggest is the fact that there is no one single edge that holds all the notes together. One edge where all the glue ends are located. This single change to the popular post-it note changes your work flow completely.

We need to remember, post-it notes are tools. We use tools to get things done. Well designed tools are almost invisible, because they let us get things done without getting in the way or creating extra work.

The original post-it note (shown on left) was a good tool. Maybe not the best (always room for improvement), but it was good. This new version (shown on right) complicates the work flow by adding more steps.

citizenrod bad design postit notes

The first step in using a post-it is to determine which way is up. You do this as shown above. You fan an edge and that tells you, “the end that does not lift up, is the top”. So in this case I would spin the pad 90 degrees clockwise, such that the glue (top) end was at the top, then I could start writing on it.

citizenrod bad design postit pad

Fanning the new post-it gives you inconclusive results (and a mess). So what does this mean. It means you need to do further investigation to try to figure out which way is up. It means a break in your work flow. One second ago you were about to write down the best idea you have ever had in your life….but now you are trying figure out which end of the post-it goes up…..what was my idea again??

citizenrod bad design postit notes pad

Here we fan another edge, more research. What does it tell you this time? Still nothing. You actually need to grab one single note (shown in next photo) to determine which end is up.

And to make matters worse, because every note is alternating, it means you will need to check which way is up…..every time you use it.

citizenrod bad design postit pad stack

Fiddly and time wasting = bad tool = bad design.

Does the original post-it pad have problems? Yes.

Does this new version improve it? No, it makes it worse.

Try again.

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