Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Given all the effort that consumer product companies put into their branding and package design, I was fairly shocked at what I saw in my local CVS store. Basically, the CVS-brand products featured packaging that was nearly identical to the name brand products. They copied the colors, text styles, and more — everything but the […]

While working with an online spreadsheet program, I noticed something interesting. As you might already know, some web-based applications don’t have a “Save” button. Instead, changes are saved automatically, without any action on your part. Well, in the case of this spreadsheet program, the designers realized that people would still be looking for the missing […]

I know that I’ve written about this before, but I came across the problem again — this time on an otherwise excellent support site. Namely, don’t use low-contrast color schemes for text that customers are supposed to read. Almost dark gray on a sort of white background will always be harder to read than black […]

While making a routine purchase over the weekend, I noticed something rather confusing on the credit card terminal. After swiping my card, it asked me to sign for the purchase. But before I could take the attached stylus and sign in the box, I hit a roadblock. The screen said “Do not sign with pen.” […]

My mom asked me to help with the camera on her new cell phone, and I figured it would be fairly straightforward. Well, I was partially right. Taking a picture was simple enough. But viewing the pictures you’ve already taken was baffling, and I couldn’t figure out what the option was called. After some trial-and-error, […]

When I was a kid, I collected scratch and sniff stickers. Unfortunately, I put them all in the same box, so every sticker ended up smelling like root beer. But that’s a story for another day. Speaking of scratch and sniff, I think scent is very underused within the product packaging world. Given how many […]

It’s really irritating when product designers violate the established conventions or design patterns for a particular interaction. Here are a few examples relating to text and hyperlinks on web pages: – Links that aren’t underlined (making it difficult to tell that they’re links at all) – Regular text that’s blue and underlined (so it ends […]

When you schedule a Season Pass on TiVo, the icon that corresponds to the entry seems to vary based on how you scheduled it. There’s one icon for recordings scheduled from the TiVo website, and another icon for the ones scheduled from the TiVo device itself. There might even be other icons I haven’t seen, […]

I’ve been using the Netflix Watch Instantly service on my TiVo for several months now. It’s great, but the “quality” display has always been puzzling. Some shows fill up the full set of bars and show the HD icon, but others never get past the next-to-last bar. Sure, not every show is available in HD, […]

It’s fun watching products evolve over time, especially if they grow to add new features that make your life easier. One of the web-based services that I use has been improving things a lot lately, including making their customer sign-in screen much cleaner. They also added an area on the screen where they announce new […]