The Usability of a Drink Tap

Doc Searls asked what could be more obvious to use than an elevator, to which I am about to reply. A tap. There is a new Beach Volleyball complex in Brisbane called, The Beach. There is a water bubbler there that confuses every person I have seen use it.

It’s a conventional design with a single button that would seem to produce the water from the faucet when pressed. Seem being the operative word, pressing the button does nothing but make the presser look at the button, look at the sink and look confused. Following this the person usually stands up releasing the button and shrug their shoulders only to look down at the water flowing. The problem is the tap works on the release of the button rather than the pressing of the button. It then flows for a certain amount of time and cuts off, requiring another press and release to start the water again.

It baffles, but doesn’t really surprise me how any engineer would let this design go to the factory. It is a testament to how blind we can be when designing interfaces. The engineer works with the interface as it evolves, and can easily let it evolve into a monster.

Toowoomba Titans

I coach and play for the Toowoomba Titans team in the PVL. We have played all but 1 team and have ended winning only 1 game. We are improving and we certainly have some young and quite inexperienced players that are coming along.

I think half the problem we are having is our aggresiveness when we are blocking and in defense. Hopefully, a bit more directed training towards those will help alot.

Lawrence Lessig

I heard a Lawrence Lessig interview on Hack a couple of days ago. I was really impressed with him, not only by what he spoke about but how he spoke. I wasn’t sure who it was at first, he sounded really young and the picture I had in my head was one of a quite old man.

Hack is an awesome radio show, it has a podcast and anyone who is interested in a youth oriented view of Australian current affairs, would do well to listen.


I’m trying to build alot more AJAX capabilities into the framework behind this blog. I use the same framework at work for accessing our service database. I’m still coming to grips with how best to setup the id’s and classes of all the different divs and forms I use in the edit and new process, but I’m certainly getting there.

Knowing the DOM really can help a fair bit, I can’t wait until d.m.o is finished.