Design Stupidities of the Mundane

Car Window Frame

By Xah Lee. Date:
car window
Lookout from the driver's view of a 2000 Honda Civic sedan. Look at the huge view-blocking roof-pillar. Are the designers stupid? No. Mostly likely it's because the masses are stupid. If the consumer cared, such huge pillar would be extinct out of competition.

The average masses do not appreciate good design. If you bring it to their attention, often they ascribe nitpicking attribution to you. I care about good design. Often i am at odds with the masses.

Another thing about cars is the car door. It opens side ways. A better design would be sliding doors. Sliding design provides faster access and sans entry-blocking and swinging space.

Computer Keyboard Layout

There are a huge number of stupid designs around us embraced by the massing morons. One of them is the computer keyboard layout commonly known as QWERTY layout. It was a layout design that is meant to slow down typists, so that the early mechanical typewriters can be prevented from jamming. To this day, this QWERTY intentionally-slow layout is now the de facto “standard”. What i hate in the computer industry are those who out of laziness refused to learn touch type and therefore dismiss it. And, upon hearing the better design DVORAK, dismiss it as fussing. Keyboard punching morons: die.

Detail at Dvorak Keyboard Layout.

Related to this in the computing field is something called unix. For a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to it, see: the Unix Pestilence page.

Home Stereo CD-doors

In stereo equipment's various doors for CDs or cassettes, in the beginning they are based on a tension-release mechanism thru a spring, so that a push pops them open immediately. Today, the vast majority of spiffy looking home-stereo equipment has motor-driven doors that opens smoothly and coolly and slowly so that you have to wait to appreciate their coolness and complexity.

A stupidity implicitly demanded by the masses.

DVD Preface

In the video tape days, you pop in a cassette and fast-forward to skip the ads and begin enjoying the movie. In our DVD digital progress, which provides immediate random access without winding, you pop it in and wait for 30 sec of warnings, ads, and intro sequences that you cannot skip. Then, you are faced with a index, and when you click on it, you wait for it to play dumb decorative sequences for 5 seconds before what you wanted to watch.


In a trackball device, the one thing you want, is largest ball and with the least amount of friction. So that, you could spin the ball. However, in almost all trackballs, you can't even make it free-spin in a couple revolutions. This includes the those made by Kensington. However, there is a excellent exception:

Trackball Reviews


Kneeling chair Aeron chair
The Kneeling chair. Above right: The Aeron chair.

For several years in late 1990s, i had a kneeling chair. My body is light weight and small frame, and am very atheletic. The idea of this chair is very appealing, however, i can't say i liked this chair very much. For one thing, you can't just hop onto it. Then, i didn't really feel any supposed ergonomic posture comfort with it. Somehow you are not totally relaxed on it, as if you are doing some kungfu stance. Once sat, your body and posture is kinda fixed on it. You can't move freely or jostle about, for example, when your hear something that cheers you and want to jump up and do victory pose.

In the dotcom days, there became this popular iconic Aeron chair. I think i'll love this chair, but never actually used it.

cheap office chair desk chair
The cheapest type of small, office chair. I like them. Above right: Bigger office chair. This one is not that big. With arm rest removed and back rest lowered, it would be great for me.

In general, my chair preference for office work is usually the smallest, most simple, office chair, and without arm rests and with very small back rest. With the small ones, i often swivel it around and sit backwards, i.e. the back of the chair in near the desk, and my chest incline forward to rest on the backrest, with my chin just above the backrest, and my thighs spread apart and my lower legs dragged back. I do this sometimes as a alternative position to get away of prolonged fixed sitting position. Also, sometimes i may curl up my legs on the chair like a buddha, and occasionally kneel on the chair.

I do not like any of those big, heavy, or elaborate, expensive, office chairs. With chairs with arm rests or big back rest that extends to your head, alternative sitting positions are usually impossible. I don't like heavy things in general.