Another Bad Design Example


Let's go with a light thought and topic for a Sunday, considering there are sad examples of medical malfeasance and poor management oversight in the news today.

Following up on my blog post from last week about hotel room lighting controls that were so confusing, they required directions, I found this picture in my recent archives. It's a hotel Pepsi machine (from the U.S.) where the front of the machine has these huge rectangular pictures of the products.

Apparently, the big pictures looked like buttons (they did to me). So they added a “Choose Here –>” sign, taking away from the aesthetic appeal of the machine (click for a larger view).

Badly designed pepsi machine, the graphics look like buttons ... on Twitpic

I think it's a great lesson in visual controls and design… what's obvious to you as designer is not necessarily going to be obvious to the user. Don't blame the user… I wonder if this flaw or weakness in the design was discovered early in the design process (and they just decided to run with it) or if it was discovered AFTER the machine was out in the market?


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. Elysian says

    They should have built a prototype and let "real people" use it and give feedback before launching the design.

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