Teresa Ovalle

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Everyday Object Evaluation – Week 2

on September 7, 2014

This week’s evaluation is in reference to a can of CVS brand shaving cream. The can looks good and my husband tells me that the product in the cans works well, also. He went on to tell me that the ergonomics of the can – from holding it to pressing the button to eject the shaving cream – work nicely as well.

The error in the design is the indent around the push button at the top of the can. This indent fills with warm water that becomes cold as it continues to sit. Normally this would not be an issue, but when I move the can to clean under or around it, I am often splashed with cold water. This annoys me to no end.

Screenshot 2014-09-05 22.22.25

The design flaw is in the indent. A simple fix would be to redesign the top of the can to ensure that the indent is reshaped so the water falls away from the can and doesn’t collect at the top – waiting for an unsuspecting person to move it.

To pull in our reading for the week, I chose the four universal design principles from Lynch and Horton’s book, Web Style Guide. The four principles include equitable use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use and perceptible information.

Because these principles are more for the different between non-web and web use and marketing, I am going to adlib a bit to use the principles for a non-web item – the shaving cream can.

Equitable use – “The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.” (pg. 54) The design is useful to anyone who needs shaving cream. It’s a good brand and a good product. The can is also marketable and is comparable to name-brand shaving cream products. I think this can of shaving cream can be used by most people from young to old without difficulty.

Flexibility in use – “The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. Provide choice in method of use.” (pg. 55) This principle is limiting for a can of shaving cream. I do think a wide range of individuals could use this product to shave any number of areas of their bodies, but they have to have a certain level of ability to do so. For instance, a person should be able to hold a razor and the can of shaving cream.

Simple and intuitive use – “Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Eliminate unnecessary complexity and arrange information consistent with its importance.” (pg. 55) A can of shaving cream is a can of shaving cream. Most people know what to do with shaving cream regardless of skill level, language barrier or current concentration level. A young shaver may have to learn how to use the can of cream, but with little to know guidance, he is likely to figure it out.

Perceptible information – “The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities. Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information and provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.” (pg. 55) The can clearly communicates to the user which end is up and where to push the button to eject the cream form the can. I am certain that people with sensory limitations could still use this product. The personal limitations may cause the person to use the product in a more controlled manner, but it is likely they could still use the product.

As I mentioned above, I adlibbed to make the principles to work for my assignment, however, one can clearly see how to use these principles in web design as well.