Saturday, January 16, 2010

(Updated with Solution - TIDE) The designers of this Gain detergent container obviously didn't read Don Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things" !


The designers who created the Gain detergent container below obviously didn't read "The Design of Everyday Things."

No matter which way you try to pour the darn thing, laying it on the side or trying to pour from the spout,  it still makes a BIG mess.  How would you explain this to your kid?

I wonder what it was like to be on the team for this container. Someone had to say, "Yes! Let's put the handle on the same side as the spout!

To put the container on the side, I have to put most of it on my dryer.  I often have laundry on the top of my dryer that is in the process of being folded, so to out the Gain container on its side, I have to move the clean laundry.

Although I prefer Gain over Tide, I went back to Tide.  One look at the container and you intuitively know what to do.







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Don Norman's Website

UPDATES

I received the following comment to this this post, plus a few others:


"The black cap is an airvent, not a pouring spout. You stand the container on its side and use the white spout to dispense the liquid using the red rubber button."


I DID use the little red button to dispense the detergent, and I set the container on its side.  It didn't work very well.  


Here is my response to the first comment:


True, the spout may be an air vent, but as a person who has been doing laundry since I was about 10, and for a family of four for a couple of decades,  this set up was NOT intuitive. It just doesn't flow.  
I'm usually in a rush when I do laundry, so I did not spend time inspecting the detergent container closely.   When I had difficulty pumping the detergent out of the container using the red button,  I noticed I the arrow on the "spout" pointing to the cap.   I presumed that the arrow meant that I should use the spout to pour the detergent, if the little pump thing didn't work.  So that's what I did!
I'm accustomed to using all sorts of cleaning products, and this one was not a good fit. 


My point is this:
Getting detergent from a container into a washer should not be this complicated.   


It wasn't easy to get the container of Gain down from the shelf above the washer and gracefully put it on its side to use the pump to get the detergent in the cup.   The container is pretty heavy when full, as it holds 170 fl oz of detergent, well over a gallon. And there are more problems. After you get the into the cup and then into the washer,  the next step is to rinse out the cap. This takes a long time, since the consistency is very thick. (I don't have a sink in my laundry room, so I use the water that is in the washer.)


The container pouring system needs to be simple.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The black cap is an airvent, not a pouring spout. You stand the container on its side and use the white spout to dispense the liquid using the red rubber button.

Lynn V. Marentette said...

True, the spout may be an air vent, but as a person who has been doing laundry since I was about 10, and for a family of four for a couple of decades, this set up was NOT intuitive. It just doesn't flow.

I'm usually in a rush when I do laundry, so I did not spend time inspecting the detergent container closely. When I had difficulty pumping the detergent out of the container using the red button, I noticed I the arrow on the "spout" pointing to the cap. I presumed that the arrow meant that I should use the spout to pour the detergent, if the little pump thing didn't work. So that's what I did!

I'm accustomed to using all sorts of cleaning products, and this one was not a good fit.

My point is this:

Getting detergent from a container into a washer should not be this complicated.

It wasn't easy to get the container of Gain down from the shelf above the washer and gracefully put it on its side to use the pump to get the detergent in the cup. The container is pretty heavy when full, as it holds 170 fl oz of detergent, well over a gallon.

And there are more problems.

After you get the into the cup and then into the washer, the next step is to rinse out the cap. This takes a long time, since the consistency is very thick. (I don't have a sink in my laundry room, so I use the water that is in the washer.)

The container pouring system needs to be simple.

ralber said...

Wow. At my local supermarket there are a dozen different detergent brands, each of which comes in a variant of this dispensing container. Apparently even the dimmest housewives and housemen in our neighborhood have figured out that this container is designed to be placed on its side on an upper shelf with the dispensing spout hanging over the edge. I guess they should have printed a picture of the recommended setup on the side for the few, including this author, who don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. The design is far from useful. I often find myself in a similar predicament (rinsing the cup with the water from the washer). It's not just Gain either. Other brands use the same kind of design. I think it's time to stop buying detergent that comes in this kind of contraption.

Anonymous said...

A different design problem is that the label makes you think it's supposed to stand up, not lie on its side.

Lynn V. Marentette said...

I agree that the label, with the arrow pointing up, is misleading.

Ralber, I think you did not carefully read my post. I DID place the Gain container on its side, I figured that out from the placement of the pump. I ran into trouble when the pump did not work well.

(If you are mindful of usability principles, you can't blame the user for the problems of a design.)

In my case, I define "not working well" to mean that the Gain detergent-dispensing system takes too long to get the correct amount of the detergent out of the container, into the cap, and then into the washing machine.

Since I usually am in a hurry and multi-tasking when I do laundry, I didn't take the time to realize that the cap on what looked like a spout was for an airvent. To take the cap off while I had the container on its side would add another three steps to the laundry washing process. (Take off the cap, find someplace to set it down where it won't get lost, and then put the back on.)

As I mentioned in my update to this post, I'm back to Tide, which provides a less complicated means of dispensing detergent.