Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Bad Designs: Staplers

Bad Designs: Staplers
[人因工程 ]


Bad Designs: Staplers

One of these staplers is more difficult to use than the other. The nearer one is harder to line up from above because the handle blocks your view of where the staples come out. As a result, when you use the stapler you sometimes miss the paper.

Design recommendations:

From the side, the nearer stapler looks fine. You can easily see where the staples come out. But if you take the viewpoint of the user, directly above the stapler, you can't see where the staples come out. The lesson here is that when you design a device, take the view point of the user.

Editor's Comments:

The author is being kind to a fault. In fact the nearer stapler was not designed at all, it was styled. Design is not styling, and styling is not design. It could be worse. Much of today's "architectural design" is in fact mere styling. Many post-modern skyscraper "designs" in particular are nothing more than exercises in "styling the box". This is not always a bad thing, as the design parti of most skyscrapers are subject to tight constraints, and a little manipulation of the surfaces is really all there is left to do. Venerable landmarks such as the Chrysler Building in lower Manhattan are in fact Art Deco styling exercises, supremely well-executed. Styling is harmless provided it does not undermine function. The problem arises when styling, in a perverse variation of Gresham's Law, displaces design altogether. That is when we wind up with products such as the nearer stapler, and their architectural counterparts.

-- Bevin Chu

Explanation: Bad Designs: Staplers
Illustration: Staplers
Author: Michael J. Darnell
Affiliation: Bad Human Factors Designs
Source: www.baddesigns.com
Publication Date: 1998-1999
Original Language: English
Editor: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect

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