iOS and the Unpressable Shift Button

Apple has always tried to worship the dual deities of clean design and usability - and while those two often complement each other, sometimes they butt heads. Case in point: iOS 7.1 changed the color scheme of the shift key so that users just can't tell whether it's on or off. It blends in with function keys when it's off, and with the letter keys when it's on, but neither color intuitively suggests an "active" state. Allen Pike points out that making it stand out in any way would easily solve the problem, but standing out seems to be against Apple's dogma of clean design. A fix may be in the works, but in the meantime its aesthetics 1, usability 0.
[Thanks to Jonathan Jackson for the tip on this one!]

The Shoe That Grows

Keeping children in shoes is especially important in developing nations, but the cost of keeping up with kids' growing feet makes it a challenge for many families. The Shoe That Grows is designed to address that, by adjusting its size along with a child's feet from age 1 to 5. It's durable (lasting 5 years) and low-cost (reportedly down to $10 per pair) - and the design of how it adjusts to foot size is downright brilliant. Here's hoping this design can follow through with the impact it seems capable of!
[via Core77]

Towel Timer: Making use of unused space...

If you appreciate efficiency, simplicity, and overall cleverness, here's a treat: the Towel Timer is a one-handed mechanical kitchen timer that discreetly sits atop a paper towel holder. I love the fact that it occupies a previously unused space which happens to be easily accessible and visible - perfectly suited for its function. Add to that the satisfaction of simply turning a mechanical timer, instead of pressing beeping membrane buttons on a microwave timer, and it's a real delight!
[via Gizmodo]