Laundry Usability Fail

I just came across this photo I took last summer after I started reading “The Design of Everyday Things,” which I discussed in my last post. One of the things I love about the book is how clearly it explains the ways in which a design fails when someone has difficulty using a product.

This image is from a multi-load washing machine at my local laundrymat. After I got over my confusion over where to put the detergent in this machine, I was delighted by what a perfect example of unnatural mapping it was. If there’s anything that lends itself to clear and simple mapping, this would be it. In particular, I find it interesting how the diagram on top suggests that the detergent and bleach go into separate bins, yet there is no divider in the actual device (or maybe I guessed wrong after all…).


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