Bad usability isn’t confined to the Web

grab bag, misc

I’ve often ranted here and elsewhere about usability / UI problems with Web sites, software apps, and other geekery. Unfortunately — and unsurprisingly — stupid design decisions aren’t confined to the online world.

I was reminded of this in a very unpleasant, sticky, and smelly way recently.

You see, there’s this wonderful chlorine-deactivating shampoo (“Ultraswim”) that is a Godsend for folks who enjoy swimming pools but hate the lingering ickiness of harsh chlorine chemicals in their hair and on their skin.

The shampoo even helps prolong the life of swimtrunks by neutralizing the chlorine components soaked into the fabric.

So, as you might imagine, I don’t ever go swimming without throwing a bottle of this stuff in my gym bag.

Unfortunately, a few months ago, I reached into my gym bag and was confronted with a sticky pile of leaked shampoo goo. What the heck?!?

Any reasonable person would expect the smart folks who came up with this neat shampoo to pair it with an equally thoughtful container. No such luck. When even the slightest pressure is applied to this shampoo bottle, shampoo leaks out through the horribly-designed push-open top.

They could have made a screw top. Or used a lid that actually clicks closed tightly. Or exercised one of many other options… anything EXCEPT putting on a top that squirts out shampoo when the bottle is even barely jostled against the edge of one’s gym bag in a locker.

And it’s not as if this is a beauty product that’s likely to stay in one’s home bathroom cabinet. This is an anti-chlorine shampoo… something typically stashed in a gym or changing bag when you go to the pool.

What was this company thinking? And how can we consumers successfully get it to Think Better(tm)?

In the meantime, thank goodness for Ziploc bags (at least until I simply port the shampoo into one of my well-designed travel shampoo containers… hmm… just thought of that now! :D)

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