citizenrod bad design tools feedback pen
citizenrod bad design tools feedback pen

Bad design is everywhere, even in the designer’s own toolbox.

Designers love Sharpies. They are reliable, write on practically anything, and don’t rub off. But Sharpies lack a feature you can find on the cheapest of cheap pens,

the Click!

That sound the lid makes when you securely put the lid back on the pen.

In the design world we call this ‘click’ feature, “feedback”, because it gives the user feedback on the action they have just completed. It lets them know if the action was successful or unsuccessful. It is a confirmation of a completed and successful action.

If you do not hear that “click”, you know you need to review your action. In this case it could mean, pushing harder on the lid, or checking to see if something is blocking the lid, or checking that this lid actually belongs to this particular pen. Whatever the reason, it is the ‘click’ that informs the user of success or failure.

citizenrod bad design tools feedback

The ‘click’ is a simple design feature which is created when bumps within a lid are forced over bumps on the pen. The plastic lid is forced to expand past its normal shape as it passes over the bumps, then snaps back to its normal shape creating the ‘click’ sound. You can see the bump on the pens in the above image.

In this next photo you can see the Sharpie, it has no bump, and therefore provides no feedback.

citizenrod bad design sharpie tools feedback

That’s bad design. How is the user supposed to know if the lid has been replaced securely or not?

In the following image, you can see three lid positions. Which one is secure?

The top one? The middle one? The bottom one? The first two? All of them?

The user receives no feedback, therefore does not know when the lid is secure. Their only confirmation that the lid is secure, is when it does not fall off. Fingers crossed.

citizenrod bad design sharpie tools

Design tools designed badly… it doesn’t make sense.. but it happens.


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