July 8th, 2007

Ann Vole

Instructions are an indicator of an engineer's failures.

If something is designed right, it should not need instructions or warning labels. As designs get poor, instruction manuals get bigger and more full of warnings to not do idiotic things. Some will blame the legal system and silly law suits but I think with a little thought into design can eliminate many of these warnings and instructions by preventing the stupid user from doing things the wrong way. One indicator of bad design is when smart people have trouble figuring it out... it has to be designed poorly.

Another thing to consider is use by disabled people. Someone has a dog that can play tennis and some other game using the Wii game counsol... The game and the counsol are both intuitive and can be opperated with minimal physical specializations that not all people or animals have access to. Lots of handicapped people have a dog to assist them so door handles and light switches need to be opperatable by the dog. I think with a little thought, most controls can be made dog-friendly without making it hard to use or ugly for normal humans.