Every day I notice examples of infuriatingly bad design, often in places where it simply boggles the mind. Cash machines for example. Around for decades now and used by millions of people every day you’d think they would have evolved into the ultimate example of efficient usability. Yet many of them seem to have been created and installed without even the slightest common sense being brought into the equation.

As a person of about average height, when I stand in front of a cash machine I am convinced of man’s inhumanity to man as all I can see is the brickwork in front of my face. I contort myself into an undignified squat with my arse sticking out, in order to be able to see the machine. This makes it that much harder to conceal my actions with my body. Even in this position, the angle and deep inset of the screen is such that the buttons along the edge are visually misaligned so that they appear to match up with the option below the one I intend. Some banks solve this parallax error with lines running from the buttons to the plane of the screen. Hooray for them! They’ve probably got a patent on this bit of common sense to prevent the rest of the world from benefiting. Boo to them!

I appreciate that short and disabled people must be accommodated, but I struggle to believe that there’s no decent solution that doesn’t wreck the experience for the other 90%. Do those responsible possess enough awareness of the world around them to realise their folly once they have committed it? Presumably not otherwise they’d fix it the next time and we’d have had decent cash machines since about 1975. So, I offer my services as a “common sense consultant”, ready to look on any problem with eyes wide open and a big dollop of common sense and competency. And thus will the world become a nicer place and I will become rich. But alas, I may have to consider that Plan B.

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