If I had a Worst Instructions & Controls award, it would have to be retired courtesy my hotel-room bedside clock radio, otherwise known as XtremeMac. The following was on the top of the clock in fine print, to guide one through the process of setting the alarm:

  1. Press and hold the “Alarm 1” or “Alarm 2” button until “Alarm Time” appears on the display. Press the “Settings” knob and the alarm hour will blink.
  2. Rotate the “Settings” knob to change the hour and press to set.
  3. Rotate the “Settings” knob to change the minutes and press to set.
  4. Rotate the “Settings” knob until “Source” appears on the display and press to select iPod, buzzer, FM or AM and press to set.
  5. Rotate the “Settings” knob until “Exit” appears on the display and press to exit.

Of course it was virtually impossible to read all the gibberish that appeared on the clock’s screen. Add the fact that while you were holding and pressing you could not simultaneously see what was on the screen. (At one point I was pushing and pressing and had the damn thing cradled in my lap so that I could at least partially see what I was doing.) The final indignity was that by the time you had twirled and pushed and pressed and then pressed and twirled and pushed, you had … ZERO … confidence that you had set the damn alarm correctly.

Excellence in design is on the tip of many a tongue.
That’s great, and a monumental change in a decade.
We’ve come a long way.
We ain’t there yet.

Tom Peters posted this on April 16, 2010, in Design.
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