Honeymoon Usability I: Light Switches

The peculiarities of our honeymoon venue, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, offered a few examples of good and bad product design - so while I'm still basking in the memory of perfect beaches and all-inclusive drinks at the swim-up bar, I'll go about addressing those in the next few posts here on Unpressable Buttons. First up, some real, live, actual buttons: the light switches! The photo is one of about 8 panels of light switches in the room, each of which contained three potential switches; the problem is that not all three switches are actually switches! One or two was always a "blank" - a placeholder which didn't even move like a switch. The problem was that blanks were designed to look exactly like real switches - and as you can see, the illusion is remarkable. Case in point, I don't even remember which of the three in this photo is/are the actual switch(es)! Anyway, this may be the work of an industrial designer who wants "cleanliness" from identical rows of switches (and imposters), but it's impossible for the user. I found myself pawing around on these damn things every time trying to find the real switch - and since its placement is inconsistent across the many panels in the room, there's no chance of rote memory picking all that up in a week. The real switch should be screaming out to be used - a different color, a protrusion, something to say "Here I am! Uuuuuse me!" Instead, we've got right here a bad case of -- yes -- unpressable buttons.

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