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Design or lack thereof July 11, 2008

Posted by faelix in moron-ocity.

I’m not a designer – not a designer-y bone in me. But I use stuff, and I see stuff.
Like the craziness at my local train station. It’s undergone a major refurbishment.
They upgraded the carpark – added a whole 3 more car parks! But in doing so, plus the new footpaths and the new traffic islands and road roundabout, they’ve removed about 20 – 30 street parks. DOWNGRADED!
They added a pedestrian overbridge – nice enough. Required elevators to meet the wheelchair/disabled requirement. Fair enough. Tiled the outside of the bridge pillars/elevator shafts in nice shiny tiles. Neat. Now they’re pulling the tiles off the first shaft. All of them. Goodness knows why. They’ve got a while pile of new tiles to go on too. Dumb.
Stairs themselves for the bridge, they were working fine for quite some time, then one day, they had a set of workmen working on them… what were they doing? Adding metal guards between the ends of each step to close the gap between the end and the wall. Took them two days. You’d think they’d have thought of this in the first place and not made that gap. The reason they have to close the gap is, although stuff will fall through ok, you cannot retrieve your fallen items, because the bottom of each set of stairs is enclosed. The enclosure has a door, but it’s locked, so it’s bye-bye mobile phone or iPod, if that’s what you dropped.
More on the stairs. One of the sets of stairs ends right near where the roundabout in the carpark is. This is a roundabout in the carpark, not on the road. It’s meant to help keep traffic flowing in the carpark. But it’s a nice wide space, and oh, my, how convenient – right NEXT TO the bottom of the stairs. So people stop and drop off all their passengers there, instead of using the passenger drop off point just past the roundabout. (Hey, mister Ute Driver, don’t get so narky because YOU were in the wrong and another driver was beeping you, you know who you are.)
And finally, the fence. They added a wooden, 6foot tall fence. Ok, it’s a good fence, but it’s SHIT because they made it go all the way to the kerb. So little cars have to go half way out of the carpark before they can see if there’s traffic coming. And you can’t see in the carpark to see if there’s spaces free until you get into the driveway. And if you make the mistake of actually turning in to the carpark, you have no choice but to drive all the way down to the poorly at the bottom of the stairs positioned roundabout and drive all the way back out.

So, enough about that trainstation.
Another trainstation that I frequent, has also undergone refurbishment. The stairs to the pedestrian subway are sloped downwards to the front of each step. Ever so slightly, but I assume to ensure that water does not pool on them. But why slope them downwards? Obviously, the person that decided on this design, has never walked on these stairs. They’re not too bad when going up them, they’re still a bit offputting, but going down, it’s wrong. Sure, it’s really small, but it’s enough to make you feel like you’re gonna fall down the stairs face first. Why couldnt they think to slope them to the sides so water would go to the edges, then have the edges slow downwards. It would solve the problem of the pooling water, as well as reducing the waterfall effect of having all the water from one step gush on to the next off its front edge. Bad design.

On to something different that might affect more people. Mouse size. The computer pointing device, not the four legged rodents that bring that stereotyped image of the housewife jumping onto the kitchen chair. I’m not at The Stars any more, so I have had to contend with setting up another computer so it meets my likes. Nice, wireless keyboard and mouse – bluetooth. Computer seems ok, but a bit unresponsive when I click the mouse. I think to myself, “ok, it’s just a new mouse, I just am not used to it yet, I’ll give it a bit more time.” Come the second day and I have to do a lot more mouse work than usual. I cannot understand why I am having so much trouble clicking. I have a look at my hand on the mouse when I’ve failed at clicking. The mouse is too long. The mouse doesnt have a specifically defined button that clicks – it’s one of those mouses that has extended the plastic all the way down the length and so you have to hit it in the right part or it just does nothing. That would be what I have been doing. Since I have a shorter hand than whomever designed this mouse, my fingers tend to end up hitting the bit of plastic that does absolutely nothing. I took my basic Logitech mouse in to work and all problems were solved. The other mouse was about 1-2 inches longer than the Logitech. Crazy.

So, enough ranting for one day. I’ll rant about chairs and houses and cars and public transport and phones and other stuff some other day.



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