Good/Bad Design 3: Venetian Blinds

Venetian Blinds
Maybe this is too similar to my previous good/bad design post, but this weekend I had a particular struggle with the venetian blinds in my bedroom. Namely, I could not figure out which angle to pull the cords in order to lower the blinds. Who decided to build the controls based on the angle anyway? At least some hint how to operate it should be visible; there should be some kind of affordance of raising or lowering so I don’t have to guess and check.

If that isn’t bad enough, let me point out that for whatever reason, there are two cords. But contrary to what you may think, one doesn’t raise them and the other lower them. Instead, they control different sides of the blinds. Because everyone loves having crooked blinds:

Crooked Blinds

I would say this is a mapping issue since the cord isn’t by the side it controls, but really there just needs to be one cord. I guess that’s why they make these:
Cord Holder
Poor design, if you ask me. What is even more sad is that there needs to be an eHow page for it: How To Lower Venetian Blinds.

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5 thoughts on “Good/Bad Design 3: Venetian Blinds

  1. Sounds like you’re struggling a little bit. I find it weird that there is one individual cord for each side. I would have thought that one would make them go up and down, and the other would adjust the amount of tilt.

    I guess not all blinds can be functional

  2. I learned how to use the cord by staring at the small wheel for minutes! One of my friends had broken several blinds in her apartment until the leasing office refused to replace it for her, because she never knew how to deal with that little thing! I just don’t understand why it is so hard to use the thing which I have to use every day.

  3. Laura, I am totally with you on this. I had huge trouble to see the sun shine every morning the first several months I came to America. I googled and I forgot — there were no visual mapping for me to recall what action is correct.

  4. My mother in law would drive me crazy when she visited because she would raise the blinds but not lower them… until I figured out she didn’t know how! Glad to see she’s not the only one who had that problem.

    OK, you guys, so design better controls for the ceiling fan and/or the blinds!

  5. Agree, my mother almost broke the blind, it take couple seconds to lower the blind but 0.5 hrs to fix it. May be we can change to automatic blind, we have automatic windows in our car. But why not automatic in everything else? We can have automatic blind opener, or maybe one step forward, use our mind to control everything in the house, watch this video

    (If you don’t want to watch the whole video, skip to 9:00/10:37) Enjoy and keep creating better user experience.

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