Samsung Blu-ray Player Remote

Who designed this Samsung Blu-ray remote?


Not only are there too many buttons (45 of them!), but it’s way too easy to accidentally hit the Home button when you meant to hit play/unpause.

When this happens to you, which it will probably every tenth time you use it, you will need to wait through minutes of Blu-ray/DVD menus and somehow hope the machine has saved your place in the movie you were in the middle of.

Also, the pause button is tiny.  Who knows what the “Smart” button is supposed to do.  The light button turns on the light on the remote, which is handy, but it takes a full 2 seconds to come on.

Does anyone make a good basic universal remote these days?

Kia Seat Heater Button Design

Here’s where Kia puts the seat heater buttons in some of their recent vehicles:

Kia Seat Heater Buttons Next to a Can of Soda
Kia Seat Heater Button Placement

Can you see the problem with this?  When the driver reaches over to grab a drink, it’s quite likely, on a bumpy road, that a few drops will spill into the crack between the two seat heater buttons.

When that happens, the seat heaters may completely malfunction.  Or the sticky soda or coffee can fuse the two buttons together, resulting in turning on both heaters at once.  (If the latter situation happens to you, you can fix it by sliding a small pocket knife down the crack between the two buttons.)

Other manufacturers like Saab put their seat heater buttons near the sunroof controls, above your head.  Better.  But Saab’s cupholders aren’t great for other reasons.

An ugly but effective workaround for the Kia seat heater problem is to put clear packing tape over the controls.  (shown in the above photo)  This will force you to use slightly more pressure to activate the seat heaters, but it’s worth it to avoid a potentially expensive fix at the dealer (or rental agency) if you short out the electronics.

Pepper Shaker Design

I’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things.  Norman says “Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.

Whoever designed the Trader Joe’s pepper shaker seems to have been thinking about packing the shakers neatly in boxes for shipment, vs. people actually using the shaker to shake pepper on their plates.  Look at this:

Trader Joe's Ground Black Pepper Shaker - Badly Designed.jpg

  • All black – so it’s hard, at a glance, to read the iconography on top.
  • Symmetrical pull tabs, so it’s easy to pull the wrong tab and start pouring way too much all over the food when you meant to just add a little.

When I prepared sandwiches the other day, you can guess what happened.  Not buying this ground pepper again, Trader Joe’s.