Time to make the HCI blog post about bad design real quick so I can get back to finishing my Maya project. It’s 9 PM and I’m still at the lab and I’m so hungry right now, but I know that if I don’t write the post right now, I will likely not do so later. So here goes:
The vending machine that Vrinda, Bradon, and I went to during what was supposed to be a 5 minute break to get some snacks (it was 4:00 PM and we were starving then) turned into a whopping 15 minutes! There were so many problems with the machine, it was just outrageous.
- The prices were not labeled on the items. You could only find out by entering code on the machine which is a waste of time if you only had money for something cheap.
- The prices were irregular and obscure. The cookies I bought cost like $3.20 which not only is super expensive, but the machine was practically begging for change. But like a junkie on the street, I wasn’t gonna give it to him ’cause I ain’t got any.
- The machine only accepted ones! It wasn’t until after I tried to put in a 5 dollar bill that the machine said so. Did it not have any change left? It it didn’t or simply not accepted anything higher than ones, there should have been a message that said so on the machine like there normally is on vending machines that are fully functional.
- The item numbering system was terrible! Didn’t the creators know that people read from left to right and not top to bottom? Why did the numbers on the top half increment by 20 each item to the right and then by 10 on the bottom. It was so confusing trying to understand what was happening. What was worse was that the ID code of cookies I wanted were being blocked by the wrapper. I had to figure out the numbering system on the spot especially since we were pushing it on time. I eventually gave up and decided to bend down to see what the id was since the cookies were on the second to lowest row.
Overall, the vending machine was designed really badly and things could have been done way better. The solutions would have been to label the prices, have a consistent system that increases by 1 from left to right, have even prices, and have message that tells the user the accepted bills on the default menu.