Everyday Usability 11 – unusable shower

Everyday Usability 11 – unusable shower

This article is about the contrary of usability, how to make something not usable. Designers can design something usable, but they can also employ the same knowledge to design something unusable. I recognized such an unusable product in a hotel. I got the impression that the shower design was made intentionally difficult to use in order to save water. Below is a funny guide on how to design an unusable shower.

  1. Use a fixed shower head instead of a hose and install it directly next to the wall. By placing the shower head directly next to wall pointing straight downward the water will flow just on the edge of the tub. The user would have to stand close to the wall to shower. This reduces comfort and will shorten the time of the shower. The result could look like this:Shower head fixed on the wall pointing downwards
  2. Do not let the user know how to adjust the water temperature. They will have to shower under cold water and for sure this shower will be quick.No indicators for chaning the water temperature
  3. Limit the amount of water. In case of this tap, the water ran for about 15 seconds. Then it had to be reactivated by pressing a button.Pressing a button let's water run for 15s. Then the button has to be pressed again.


The design is not perfect though. By leaning against the button I was able to get a continuous flow of water and avoided to have to push the button every 15 seconds. An improvement for an even more difficult to use shower would be to place the button horizontally against the wall. Then it would no longer be possible to lean against it for a continuous flow of water. Good luck designing your personal unusable shower!

A view on Trip Advisor reveals that, indeed, unusable showers can be a concern: example.

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