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Usability problems at work June 19, 2008

Posted by Levi in Evaluating.
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My friend Karine posted on her blog some pics of a soft drink vending machine funnily conformed through usage. She told me that the machine was removed from there (a hospital) only one day after the photos had been taken.

That recalled me some usability problems in my vicinity which I photographed about two years ago. Here they are.

The bathrooms in the company I work for are really nice: pretty clean, cool material, stylish sinks and so on. Maybe the designer thought ‘well, I feel that it is a good idea to keep some space at the left of the sinks so that people can put their stuff there while washing hands, such as cellphones and wallets’.

Trouble sink

The problem is that the sink at the right corner had to be placed too close to the door. The image above tells by itself what often happens!

That’s another officemate getting to work early in the morning. He’s marking the time of his arrival, and the act of passing his identification card through the reader and typing his password makes the door unclose.

Getting to work

By the time of lunch when he’s leaving the office, he has to identify himself again to open the door.

Going to lunch

The question is: what is it for at all? Haven’t the people inside the office already identified themselves earlier? I think that the door should be unlocked to everyone inside there. ‘Why do I have to sign in in order to sign out?’. One should reply that he’s marking his lunch time, but he actually does that once he’s outside the office.

Marking the time

Like what happend to the vending machine Karine told us about, that door was permanently unlocked from the inside right after people became aware of that usability problem.

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