Worst User Interface Ever… Really.

(Click the images for larger, less cropped versions. Sorry for the quality of the pics. I was using my Android phone’s camera in one hand, pressing buttons with the other, while kneeling.)

Can you guess what this panel controls and what each button’s function is?

This is the control panel for the new Culligan water cooler at our office. It also dispenses hot water. That’s all it does.

Two functions = three buttons with icons + three single-letter labels.

The green light means it is plugged in.

Press A (the meteor icon), and dispense cold water, with a blue light confirming it’s cold (I guess):

Press B (a big steaming mug icon), and… nothing:

Press C (a smaller steaming mug icon), and… also nothing:

Hmmmm. What’s up? Here’s the instructions to the right of the buttons. Nice layout and typography, too, eh?

Press B and C???? Really????¬†Yup. A forcing function so you don’t burn yourself, apparently, while fumbling with the buttons. And with a red light confirming it’s hot:

Gee, what if I press all three buttons? You guessed it, a mix of hot and cold, and three gleaming colored lights (and cramped fingers):

Here’s a picture of the whole front of the cooler. This really is the worst user interface for a simple function I have ever encountered. And I’ve seen a lot of bad user interfaces.

Oh, don’t forget to heed the warning about your mug catching on fire!
(in the back of the cavity)

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2 Responses to Worst User Interface Ever… Really.

  1. Mor says:

    Wow, I never knew getting water is so hard. Sometimes I wonder who made those unusable items.

  2. Aaron Watkins says:

    Freaking hysterical!

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