Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Design Gotchas

Apple is known for its cool, innovative and user-friendly designs and rightly so: iPods and iPhones have revolutionized the otherwise lackluster electronic consumer product market. However, it is equally surprising when a design conscious company makes some very obvious design blunders. I recently bought an iMac and as much as I was amazed by the beauty of the product, I was disappointed to see the extra-ordinarily short keyboard and mouse wires. Even if I place the desktop at an arm length, the mouse wire comes really short. Sometimes I like to place the keyboard on the tray, in which case the keyboard wire falls short. Honestly, this is frustrating. Moreover, I was hoping to not get a laptop-sized keyboard with a Desktop computer. Maybe they could have packaged an ergonomically designed keyboard with Bluetooth (so that I can reduce the wire clutter on the table).

I am reminded of another product design annoyance from an otherwise design conscious company - Ikea. Ikea never stops to amaze the new shopper setting a step in their store and even for the regular shoppers it is a pleasant experience looking at the diverse and beautifully arranged room settings. On my first visit several years back, while I was enjoying the unique experience, I remember almost feeling disoriented in the big showroom; easy navigation in a store with large real estate is a rare phenomenon. In any case, the design gotcha that was most glaringly obvious was when I went to the check-out counter. The conveyor belt was quite narrow and it was difficult to place even modestly small items on the belt. It could be a small thing but it was definitely a bit annoying to try manage putting all the products on the belt. If you have been to Ikea, I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts.

Monday, March 9, 2009

1st Customer of HYC

Today, I drove my first customer of Help-You-Carry. She was an old lady living in San Jose. She had gotten information about HYC from Los Gatos Senior Center and she wanted to utilize the driving+shopping service, as she couldnt drive herself. My wife had accompanied me this time and that helped: the lady was using a walker and having my wife helped in overall logistics. Also, while the lady was shopping in the Target store, my wife and I did some of our own shopping. Overall it took about 3+ hrs from the time we left our home to the time when we were back.  It felt really good to be able to help someone!