Do One Thing and Do It Well

Throughout this blog, you'll see me complain (err, suggest) how products could be designed better. Last week I came across another perfect example of poorly designed products. Clocks, specifically, alarm clocks.

My Grandma got a new alarm clock. I can't recall the brand right now, but if I could, trust me, I would publicly shame them. Her alarm clock has two alarm settings. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is, she couldn't figure out how to set them. One of the alarms was set for 11:52 at night and it would wake her up every single night. If I were her, I would have unplugged the damn thing until I figured out how to turn the alarm off, but I guess she needed to know what time it was. I was called in to save the day and I too was initially perplexed at how to set the silly alarm. A quick consult of the instructions solved the problem, but why did I have to resort to that?

An alarm clock isn't a complex beast. It shows the time and makes noise once a day. How is it possible to design a product that makes it difficult to do those tasks? Apparently the Hilton Family thinks they have this problem licked. They are putting their easy-to-set alarm clock in all of their hotel properties. You can get a better idea of how to set the alarm clock by looking at this picture. Honestly, it looks pretty good. There is a clear indication of whether the alarm is on or off and it seems simple enough to tell the clock when you are setting the alarm time.

Finally, to balance out today's negativity, I'll tell you about a positive clock experience. Daylight savings required us to change our clocks this past weekend. I always hate that task, but at least Nissan makes it a little nicer. The clock on the CD player in my truck is cool. There is one button, and it says "Clock". If you push it, it turns the clock on. If you push it again, it turns the clock off. If you hold it, the stereo beeps and you can use either set of up/down buttons to set the time. I like this, it JFWs! I've had plenty of finger cramping combos to set stereo times before, so this is welcomed simplicity.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I thought those Hilton clocks were pretty slick, I got an email about them a few weeks ago. I like that they are pushing the MP3 support in them, as well as ease of use.

I've got you one better in the Montana. I tune to a station sending RDS time data (KRNA in this case) and hold one button to automatically sync my time. Very nice.