Train Trek Reveals Design No-No’s

Design inspiration is everywhere.

When volcanic ash felled his flight plans, Rich Baldry, a Product Manager at Sophos caught a sleeper train to Holland. In transit, a rude awakening, uncovered unexpected lessons in product design.

Baldry awoke to the rattle of a sleeper-car cohabitant, trying to get out of the compartment. This tired guy was unaware that the door had been locked the night before by Baldry.  The lock, a small, unmarked lever over the door, was the solution to the exit issue.

Baldry noted that a lack of proper documentation (signage) and poor placement turned the obscure looking lock into a user nightmare.  Baldry, who is tasked with creating user-friendly, simple, easy to manage products for Sophos, suggests that the poorly designed lock is a perfect metaphor for what “not” to do when designing products.

When designing a product, the controls should be easily discoverable and their function obvious.  This sleeper train lesson should remind us all that bad design causes stress, inconvenience, and wastes time and money.


Vickilynn is a Novelist whose first book "Waving Backwards" was published in July 2015. She is also a Blogger at Adoptionfind Blog. Previously, she was a Freelance marketing copywriter at OpenView.
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