If it\’s got an engine. . .

Dorri probably likes it

Beta testing

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on November 10, 2004

A lot is made of beta versions of software. These are pre-release versions which are made available to a small audience for the sole purpose of discovering any flaws or usability issues prior to a full-blown public release. I think this practice should spread outside the realm of computers, into the design and testing of other objects.

My coffeemaker, for example.

The on/off rocker switch on my coffeemaker is so stiff to operate that even if the water reservoir is full, I must use my free hand to hold the coffeemaker down to keep it from sliding away as I try to turn it on.

All it would have taken to catch this is one person to actually make coffee with it prior to okaying it for production. A lighter operating switch would probably be cheaper, to boot.

There’s a great website for this kind of useability issues: www.thisisbroken.com. I first ran across this website in Popular Science magazine. Every month they feature one submission from the site.

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