If the cockpit of a Boeing 747 were as badly designed as some kitchen appliances, most of us would never make it to Denver alive. Imagine a jet pilot having to fumble around for the landing gear lever because it looks just like all the other controls. I've owned (or inherited) far too many domestic appliances with just such inane shortcomings and more, and it's gotten me to wondering: Don't the engineers and stylists who design these products at least try them out at home for the weekend? If they had, many of them would never have made it onto the market. Since we already know a great deal about ergonomics -- the science concerning the design of objects for human use -- and are always finding out more, you'd presume that products would become easier and easier to use. Not so; in fact, with the bane of "feature creep" -- the compulsion of marketers to add more and more gratuitous gimmicks to their products -- many devices have actually gotten harder to use. Remember the first-generatio...
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