#1 - By Chris Allison
I was given a Mont Blanc Meisterstück fountain pen twenty years ago, and today it remains my writing instrument of choice because of its fantastic human fit. In fact, the fit has become better with time, as the nib has worn to the angle that I use it. The pen is capable of using literally hundreds of different inks, so the flow characteristics of the ink can be matched to the writing pressure I prefer. The plastic barrel feels comfortably smooth, but it is not too slick to hold. When I place the cap on the pen, I feel and hear a reassuring click that informs me that the cap is secure and will not be lost. The pen barrel easily threads into two parts with slight pressure to change a cartridge or use a piston converter for drawing ink from a well. I produce my best handwriting with this pen due to the superb human fit, however when I write for long periods of time, my hand becomes stiff. To eliminate the discomfort from writing for extended periods, I would improve the grip ergonomics of the pen by increasing the barrel diameter by 5-10 millimeters.
My 5 year-old KwikDial Irrigation Controller is an example of a product with terrible human fit. The controller’s complex human interface of a dial with 24 positions, four buttons and a LCD screen is impossible to navigate properly without a product manual. The four buttons are mysteriously labeled with the letters A, B, C and D. The 24-position dial has four positions labeled “manual”. Just looking at the face of the controller makes me feel frustrated. The controller is equipped with rain sensors and freeze detection, but the instrument conditions are not indicated anywhere. When troubleshooting a non-functioning irrigation system, a voltmeter is required to check if the rain or freeze sensors are inhibiting the operation of the system. Although these controllers are traditionally installed in low-light areas such as a garage or closet, the LCD is not backlit. Reading the display without eye-damaging squinting requires the use of a flashlight. The quality of the product could be vastly improved by changing the human interface to include a backlit LCD that also enunciates freeze and rain conditions. I would also reduce the buttons to an up arrow button and down arrow button and a button labeled “enter” to allow navigation of menus on the LCD or to increase/decrease timers. Lastly, I would change the dial to include only an off position, one manual position, one automatic position, and one position for each irrigation station to configure the controller
#2 - By Justin Thomas
My Nespresso machine is a great example of human fit. Not only does its sleek design make it an attractive appliance for any kitchen, but also it provides an easy and pleasing user experience. Like most other college students, I need caffeine in the morning—and I need it quickly. When I used to make coffee with my old espresso machine, I would spill coffee grounds all over the room, spray searing hot water everywhere and generally just make a huge mess. The Nespresso coffee pods come in 16 different roasts and eliminate the potential for an early morning disaster because the coffee grounds never leave the pod until placed in the machine. I can wake up, heat the machine in under a minute, insert a pod into the top cavity and choose between a short or long espresso. After the espresso is made, the pod then drops into a small container in the bottom of the machine to be thrown away at a later time. Best of all, the low hum of the machine isn’t enough to wake my roommate in the other room. The only design improvement that I would make would be to increase the height of the machine such that I can fit my to-go cup under the spout instead of having to transfer the coffee from an espresso glass to my cup.
#3 - By Mimi Bury
My Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones have great human fit. The best feature of the headphones is that they cancel all outside noise, as promised in there name. Switching on the power button easily activates the noise-canceling feature. This button is conveniently placed in the middle of the left earpiece and it is the only button on the headphones so that users are not confused. The ear coverings are extremely soft and comfortable sitting on my head. At the same time they create a wonderful seal to eliminate outside sounds that could detract from listening to music. The earpieces pivot relative to the head rim so that it can align with the exact angle of people’s ears. Also the rim of the headphone is adjustable to fit people’s head sizes. The headphones have a sleek black and silver frame, which is classic and simple. Also, they come in a hard case so that it is you can store them anywhere without crushing or damaging them. They are also easy to pack along because they are lightweight. To improve the human fit, the headphones could be collapsible or more compact because they are significantly larger than the ear-bud headphones.
My Conair Omega Curved Plates 2” Straightener has bad human fit. I have very thick wavy hair and I have to go over my hair three to four times to get it straight using this hair straightener. After it is straight, my hair it does not look silkily and smooth like when I get it done at the hair salon with there ceramic plated hair straighteners but it looks ‘pressed straight’ and dried out. Also, this product also takes a very long time to heat up. At the highest heat setting, I feel like the straightener is burning my hair because when I use it my hair starts smoking. Also on the highest setting, the plastic frame of the straightener gets really hot to the point that it is uncomfortable to hold in my hand. The handle of the hair straightener is not ergonomic and my hand gets tired after holding it for more than five minutes. The inside blades of the straightener are curved so then it can duel as a curler but I found that it leaves a weird pattern at the ends of my hair. This curved blade also makes it hard to straighten the roots of my hair. The quality of the product could be improved by adding in an insulating handgrip to make the handle more comfortable and prevent the handle from overheating. Also, it would be better if the blades where straight to get a better finished look and add dexterity to the product. Last, it would be great to lower the heat settings so then it would not burn my hair.