Don Norman recently shared a video featuring him about a very classic object of usability issues - the door. Don used doors, among other designs, to explain usability and why it is important to apply human-centered design in his book "The design of everyday things" 25 years ago. Still, some door designs confuse users (not to say cause much frustration). See the funny video:
While a friend and I stayed at a hotel we experienced difficulties entering the hotel room that was secured by an electronic lock. At the reception I received an electronic card. We proceeded to our hotel room, but when I tried to open the door I got stuck. I asked my friend for help. After several attempts he finally figured out how to open the door. Below you can see a photo of the culprit. Where would you place the card to open the door?
To me it looked similar to the locks that we have at work. Therefore, there appeared to be only one option. I held the card at the metal knob below the handle. Unfortunately nothing happened. After several trials, my friend figured that the plastic structure on top of the lock was not just an aesthetic element but the proper interface to open the door. The metal knob below the door handle does not have a function. It would have been much easier to open the door without the visually dominant knob. It would have been helpful to have some visual cue on the plastic part that would identify it as something other than pure decoration.
Searching for flights in the holiday season can be tedious. Luckily there are meta search engines which search and compare the results of different travel agencies. We wanted to find flights to the Seychelles. We had no knowledge about towns and airports and so we simply typed in "Seychelles" in the search field. The website returned that nothing was found. That was odd. Interestingly, a second attempt typing "Mahe" in the search field, the island with the capital city Victoria and location of the main airport, returned flights.
Lately I discovered a very interesting design of a can. Typically, a can, once opened, cannot be closed again. So it needs to be emptied in one go and needs to be carried around with care to avoid spillage. I was delighted to find a resealable can - photos below.
There is a little plastic slider instead of the typical metal hole. To open the can for the first time, the little part with the stripes (first photo, left side of the black plastic part) needs to be pushed up. This might be a tricky task. I ended up using a ballpoint pen instead of my finger. When the striped part is pulled up, the rest of the closure can slide to the left side and the can is open (second photo). Sliding the striped part, now upright, to the right into its original position closes the can. As far as I can tell, no fluid is leaked when can is closed, even after being opened several times.
The can design belongs to an energy drink. Specifically for an energy drink it appears to be useful to have a resealable can. I tend to consume most energy drinks over a time frame of 1-2 days. With a resealed can the content cannot be accidentally spilled and remains fresh (sparkling).