Tag Archive: car


Do Not Overfill!!!

 I understand that some products have reservoirs that should not be overfilled, but I don’t understand why some designers make it so hard to not overfill them!!!

The picture to the left is for the rinse aid reservoir from my dishwasher. It has the max fill line printed on the stem, which is attached to the back of this cap. What this means is that you have to slowly pour in the rinse aid (guessing at how close you are to the max fill line), then periodically insert the cap, then remove the  cap and look for residue indicating the fill level on the stem, and then wipe the residue off of the stem, and repeat. What nonsense.

A good reservoir would have a fill line on the reservoir itself, so, as you’re pouring, you can tell how full the container is and how close you are to the max fill line in ‘real-time’.

Now, some drastic instances may require the “line on stem” method (I’m thinking specifically of filling the oil in your car), but, I also believe that there can be more creative  solutions used to overcome this inconvenience (I’m thinking of a secondary reservoir with a fill line that you could fill and then empty into the main reservoir…think ‘ACT Mouthwash’, but backwards…).

This really vexes me. What product design features bother you the most?

Ford Cup Holders – Fail

Dear Ford Motor Company:

Please do not put features above the cup holders.It means that you are now limiting the width and height of the objects which I can place in the cup holders, and, for all intensive purposes, it makes them worthless to me:

The only cup holder placement that I’ve seen that makes less sense, is the one on the Pontiac Firebird…

Hint: If you shift, your elbow goes through your beverage!

“Form follows function” needs to be present at every stage of concept/design. It may look nice, but, if it’s useless…it’s useless.

BMW Marketing Gem

You’ve got to hand it to BMW; they know how to create a really classy product…right down to the markings on their cup holders, actually:

I really thought I could put a long-stemmed wine glass in the cup holder! Bummer!

Yes indeed, the best marketing is in the smallest of details. Sure, big gaudy marketing campaigns have there place, but the small finishing touches are what really make the feeling created by the ad campaign authentic.

Every time you open your cup holder you are reminded that you’re riding on the leather wings of one classy beast (and your friends, who are riding shotgun, will undoubtedly take notice)!

…just to be clear, I am currently driving a 2001 Ford Focus. My friend is the one with the BMW… Sometimes life just isn’t fair.  😉

Car Seats

“4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly”

That statistic is widely proclaimed, and it should make you FUME on the inside. The problem is that, all too often, we blame the users of the car seats for the car seat’s incorrect installation, and we don’t blame the car seat/vehicle manufacturers for making something that 80% of the population cannot install correctly (even with their best intentions)!

Heck, if Hewlett Packard or Apple made computers that 80% of users couldn’t operate correctly, they would be ridiculed and go out of business!

Parents.com published an article on the 8 most common mistakes made when installing car seats. I may be as bold as to say that these can and should be designed out.

For example, just to elaborate on a couple:

  • Mistake #1 is that the straps which hold the baby seat to the car’s seat are installed too loosely. I’ve recently installed one of these baby seats and I literally stood over the baby seat in the back seat (awkwardly, as I am 6’1″ and not very compact) and tugged on the belt to tighten it, and I still don’t know if I really feel that it’s tight enough (and I work out almost daily!). Why have we not yet incorporated ratchet straps in the belts (or something to that extent) that would allow someone without appreciable physical strength to tighten the straps tighter than I was able to with the current belts.
  • Mistake #2 is that the harness holding the baby in is set too loosely. We currently have devices that automatically tighten and latch when they need to…they’re called seat belts. Furthermore, if something similar to typical seat belts were utilized, it would be easier to load the child in the seat (as you wouldn’t have to bend the child into a pretzel to get their arms under the straps). Why haven’t we yet incorporated something to this extent in car seats?

Yes, some of these suggestions would make the car seat more expensive and some would make it heavier, but, looking at the statistics of how many car seats are installed incorrectly and how many children die each year in car accidents, I think a car seat redesign is worthy of discussion.

Thoughts?