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This Doesn’t Have to Be Broken

In this post, Lou refers to a Seth Godin’s talk about the way things can be broken.  I watched Godin’s talk, and entertaining as it is, it is missing an aspect which I think should be part of every “this is broken” statement: “…and here’s how to fix it.”

This is one of the aspects that I like about the Naval Safety Center’s Photo of the Week.  Most of the time, the pictures of something egregious come with a statement of what you should’ve or shouldn’t have done.

In that way, I present my own:


This is the set of control buttons on one of my ViewSonic VP2030 monitors.  I usually don’t need these buttons, but let me tell you that when I do, I can hardly read them.  Most likely as a cost cutting measure, there is no paint or other contrast on the button labels (by the way – this hasn’t apparently changed – their current equivalent model, the VP2250, suffers from a similar issue – shame on your ViewSonic – the P allegedly stands for professional).  This is clearly broken, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pushed the wrong button, because not only are they hard to read, they are grouped without reasonable logic.

One fix is correcting fluid.  I painted each button top and let it dry.  When it was dry, I carefully scraped the top of the buttons with a pocket knife, leaving correcting fluid in the recesses.  Compare the difference:



a few cents and a few minutes and now it’s no longer as broken.  If I had some extra fine sandpaper to clean up the button tops more.  I was originally going to use nail polish, but this is an office and we had correcting fluid right there.

Now you can see the part that I’m not willing to fix – 1 & 2 are separated by the up and down arrows, and the power button is incredibly close to the function buttons.  Since pushing the power button will lose any changes you are in the process of making, this is just bad UI: non-routine destructive functions should be kept physically away from routine functions.

Published Thursday, April 30, 2009 2:24 PM by Steve Hawley
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