11 March 2006

Are gadgets always user-centred?

Not always. See Sally Kinnes' review 'six of the best' gadgets from the Lakeland catalogue in The Guardian, 3 March 2006 (sorry, no link available for the review) . What's interesting is that while the gadgets range from relatively ineffective (Fizz Keeper to keep the fizz in opened drinks bottles) to highly effective (Coolskin ovengloves made of DuPont Nomex 111) most of them give a poor user experience: the gauntlets make you feel ham-fisted; a bag for making toasted sandwiches in your toaster (someone might need this) gets too hot; a univeral jar opener is fiddly to use (so misses the needs of its target market) and so on. Functionality only goes so far; with a little more user-focus some of these gadgets could become both more useful and a genuine pleasure to use.

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