Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Design of shower controls

This past week I was in Atlanta Georgia and stayed in a Courtyard hotel.  I find most of my hotel stays thankfully uneventful.  It seems most have hair dryers in the rooms and almost everyone has the electronic card swipe locks.  We have all figured out how to operate these devices.  You wouldn’t think that taking a simple shower would require studying the faucet in order to determine how to start the shower.  I think I am fairly mechanically inclined but some of you may think this faucet is easy and/or you may have this particular model at home.  I was able to start the water without a problem but getting the actual shower to start was a challenge.  Before I left the room I had to take a picture because I decided this would make a good blog post and would help me explain.
As I looked for a way to start the shower I focused on the spot but there was no pull up or other evidence of someway to start the shower.  I focused then on the actual faucet controls.  There was the usual OFF and C and H.  You can see under the control is a black arrow looking mark with what is hard to see tub-lo and low-shwr.  As I looked at this I couldn’t determine if this was for the actual flow control or if there was another control element I was missing.  After careful inspection I found what appeared to be the lever.  It was located on the right side and I have included a better picture below.
This was just another example of how something so basic that most people use everyday can be made difficult by design.

1 comment:

  1. Jan, Great example of the often poorly designed shower control. I travel a good deal and have run into a few bad ones - wish I'd had the presence of mind to take photos.

    Another thing I sometimes find to be poorly thought out is the lighting in hotel rooms. It seems like a really simple, basic thing, but very often I've found I cannot determine how a side table lamp turns on/off because the switch has been so well obscured by design. Or there's the wall switch that controls some of the room's lights, and it's up to the guest to figure out which ones. And I can't tell you how many times I have plugged in my phone to be charged for the night, only to learn in the morning that the wall light switch I turned off also killed the power to my phone.

    All of these things used to annoy me a lot. But now I think of them as usability adventures in the wild. :o)


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