designing for the context of usage

The hotel I checked in at Washington DC this week provided a set of nice looking toiletries (photo above). It was all good until I had to use them. Now, without my glasses on, I couldn’t tell which one of these were shampoo. (Go back to the photo and check if you can read anything printed on the tubes.) And unless there was universal color code that dictates which color is associated with shampoo, the color did not convey meaningful information to me, at least as a first-time user of the set. Since I couldn’t tell which one was which just by glance (which is what I would like to do in the shower anyway), I had to hold up each one of these bright-colored tubes close to my face to read out whether it was a shampoo, a conditioner, or a body soap. So when you design something, try to put yourself in the context of its actual usage. Then you will probably come up with a better–attractive AND useful–design.]]>

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