We’ve all been there. We’ve come across an item that was poorly designed or installed and we think to ourselves, “How on earth did this thing make it into production?” Products like this almost make you wonder if there’s some sort of joke going on in the engineering and design world and you’re secretly being videotaped as you try to figure out how the product is supposed to work. So, just in case you’re trying to come up with a similar joke, we’ve come up with a list of engineering mistakes you can make in order to really confuse a human.
Add a handle where you shouldn’t pull. If people see a handle on a product, whether it’s a drawer or door, they’re going to expect that they’ll have to give a tug before the item opens. To really perplex someone, add a handle to a door that needs to be pushed to open or a superfluous handle to a filing cabinet.
Don’t clearly explain any unique directions. If your item requires a specific set of actions to be performed before it works properly, don’t put those instructions anywhere where a normal person would look for them --- or don't include them at all. If there are product warnings a consumer needs to know in order to prevent them from breaking the product right off the bat, make sure those are nowhere to be seen.
Include an almost invisible single step. If you're designing a new building, make sure to put a small, nearly invisible step somewhere in a poorly lit area of the building. In fact, bonus points if you can place small steps randomly throughout the building. This way, building residents will never be able to predict exactly when they'll trip over a half step or stub their toe on a slightly raised slab of cement.
Use small, handwritten signs to compensate for glaring design features. Did you accidentally design a mop sink in a men's bathroom that looks eerily like a urinal? Have you installed a heavy wooden door in a high traffic area? Don't bother fixing the error; instead, make a small sign and tape it to an area where people are incredibly unlikely to actually see it. Never put a sign right in an average person's line of sight. It's also best if you don't laminate the sign. That way it’s likely to be torn down quickly.
When designing walkways, always choose the most roundabout path to pave. The whole concept that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line should not factor into your sidewalk design in the slightest. Force pedestrians to walk an extra 10 or 20 feet to get to a location five feet away. Include beautiful landscaping directly in between the two locations to increase frustration with the sidewalk design.
What have we missed? We’d love your thoughts.