Archive for the 'Refactor the World!' Category
Refactor the World! – Zac Ellis – 11:00
Problem: Recently I found myself in a popular coffee shop chain (hint it rhymes with far ducks) ordering a Pumpkin Spice latte. Once i had received my ordered I noticed that my lid was cracked so I kindly asked for a new one. I gently forced the lid to the cup. I successfully secured one side, but when I would try to snap the other side in the lid slipped and fell to the floor. Five minutes and three lids later I was still struggling to cover the top of my cup! everyone around me was mocking me, and all because I was having trouble putting on a lid. I finally gave up and asked the brewista for help, but from that day forth I vowed to take revenge and create a better lid!
Question: A human interfaces with a lid, and then the lid interfaces with the cup. The two most common ways humans incounter lid errors is when the lid is the wroung size, or when the lid is an awkward shape (like a frappecino lid.) To solve both these problems I would need to create a universal lid that can be interchangable with any cup/drink.
Solution: Lids come in two basic variaties: Twist and snap. Why not use both designs to create a new lid solution! The lid would feature the generic flat top design that we are all use to, but the sides would have an adjustible ring that would increase/decrease the lid’s surface area. This will make it able to fit any size cup. Secondly, once the ring has closed around the cup, the lip of the cup will be alligned with the lid’s ring to crate pressure that would cause it to snap shut. Forming a seamless seal to prevent leaks from occuring. With this new design I hope to rid the world of embarassing lid misfortunes!



Refactor the World! – Jaocb Marler – 0930-1045

So you just got finished doing your business in the bathroom, and you go to the sink to wash your hands. You grab some soap, rub it into your hands. You put your hands in front of the motion sensor of the sink, and water starts flowing onto your hands. Your still washing the soap of your hands, when suddenly, the water stops flowing. What happened? You clearly still have soap on your hands, and yet the flow of water has ceased. You move your hand slightly back and forth, and yet nothing happens. You get frustrated, angry, perhaps even violent at the sink. But, after moving your hands away from the sensor for a few seconds, you place your hands under the sink once again, and the water flows once again.

After you finish washing your hands, you wave you grab some paper towels, dry your hands and leave the bathroom. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like this is my exact situation every time I use a sink triggered with a motion sensor. I can understand why this designed this way. You want to turn on a sink without touching a handle, so you put a motion sensor in it, but you don’t want someone to place something over the sensor, causing a giant flood in the bathroom. But making it so that the flow of water only lasts around 10 seconds before shutting off is simply not long enough of a window for me to wash my hands. And surely I am not the only one that takes longer than 10 seconds to get soap off of my hands? I can’t even fathom the total amount of time people have wasted waiting for the mechanism in the motion sensor to reset, so they can continue to wash their hands. My solution is simply this: triple the amount of time it takes for the sink to shut off. This way, everyone has enough time to wash off there hands completely, and there is still no way that someone can trick the sink into causing a flood.

Refractor the world–Muhammad Jahangir–ENGR 101 TR(09:30-10:45)

So in our kitchens when you open the cabinets to put your stuff the problem is that when you open it, it   need a lot of space to open and plus you cannot put anything in the front because it would fell off the shelf, so as a result the space is too congested plus you have to be really careful that you don’t break anything.

Thirdly, you need to also watch out for yourself that i won’t hit your head.

The solution is to use slide cabinet doors .So this way the slide door will be squeezed to the side. And it do not require any space and you do not need to be careful about anything that it is going to fell.

These will be user friendly and does not require any more space than where they are.

I think my solution is practical because i’ve seen shutters outside banks or shops, you just have to slide them upward, so why don’t we use them for kitchens as well.

If you living in an apartment you must have noticed that kitchens are too congested and designers still used those cabinets where you have to open them. I think this would be a better idea to replace all of those.

Refactor the World! – Avery Barker – 1100-1215

While performing my usual duties as a busboy for Bj’s restaurant and brewhouse I came across a problem with the door that leads to the freezer with all our alcohol products. Once inside the freezer you will notice that it is pretty cold in there. It was my first time in there and I found myself locked in there because of this door. It had some kind of abstract knob, a kind of knob that you wouldn’t grab like a normal one. I spent almost 5 minutes trying to figure out how to turn or pull or whatever you do to the knob to open the door there was even instructions on the door of how to open, but this did not help me all it showed was how to lock it. As I stood there believing this would be my icy tomb I tried something that seemed crazy, I pushed and viola I was able to escape, but for the rest of the day I was baffled by the design they decided to go with, with this door.

This could easily be fixed by not putting any kind of knob there or instructions so people don’t focus to much on them and think you’re supposed to pull it especially in a freezer.





Refactor the World – Rakan Alyami – TR 09:30-10:45

I think apple TV has one mistake on their small remote control that we can not use apple Tv if we lost the remote control and it’s easily possible that we can lost it because of it’s small size, also we can not use the device without its remote control. there’s no and buttons on the devise that we can turn it on, off or change the channels. so, it’s useless advise without it’s remote control and we have to buy another one if we lost it.

Refactor the World! – khalid almustanyir – T R 11-12:15

those images above showing the poor Human Factor Design of blackberry porsche which is if you want to take off the sim-card you have to take off the battery first because the company of blackberry placed the battery blocking access to the  sim-card , and i think it supposed to be each one of them should be in different side that because if you take off the battery the phone will shut down and you maybe just want to change the sim-card , so i see it needs to replaced 

Dhafer Almustanyir [TR 1100- 1215]

If u come to my apartment and you want to get in ,you are going to see two doors one of them is glass door , so most of my friend when they came , they usually didn’t see the glass door so they hit it . what I did  to solve this problem .I put a paper so they can see this door .




Refactor the World! – Jayme Fuentes – 0930


The Sun roof is a luxury option to have in any vehicle. You are able to get the wind in your hair and it feels great. Unfortunately, the switch to have the sun roof open can be confusing! 

In this particular switch it only shows you the up and down arrow picture, for starters, how do you know which arrow does what function?  This sunroof opens slightly when the button is pressed down  on the up arrow and when the button is held down on the up arrow it will open fully. Also, when the button is pressed down when the roof is open it will only close slightly, but when held down the roof will close completely. This is very confusing based off of the switch itself because there is no way of knowing how to open the sun roof completely or slightly without messing with the button.



I believe this can be an easy fix! My idea is to have a bigger switch with better illustrations. I would have a button labeled CLOSE to close the roof completely no matter what position the roof is open too. I would have a button labeled FULLY OPEN to open the sun roof completely and another button labeled SLIGHTLY OPEN to open the sun roof slightly. I believe having a button designated to each function would make this interface a lot smoother!




Refactor the World! – 1100- Scott Farwell

I was trying to think of an invention that wasn’t intuitive this weekend when I went  to open a can of fruit and realized how frustrating can openers can be!  If you have any experience with a can opener you know that they are in no way intuitive, and if you don’t have any experience with a can opener, your first experience won’t be a pleasant one believe me. This design fails because of the difficulty of use and the un-intuitiveness of its design. 

<—–(bad design)


 The can opener is the interface between a person and a can, and what is inside of the can.  There are a few existing inventions that making opening some cans more easily such as cans with tabs to open them.  There are also a few newer can openers that opens the can by holding down a button (however these aren’t intuitive either and they only last a few months before the magnet starts to go out).  

<——-(better design still not intuitive)<——–(problem solved not all cans are made this way)

I sat down and tried to think of some other ways to create a better can opener.  Then I thought of a circular device that “punches out” the top of the can.  I thought I had it solved then it hit me that not all cans are the same size.  To solve this problem I thought of a device with a similar design however instead of a fixated size it would have an adjustable coil design that would fit itself to the size of the can.  The you simply press a button to punch out the can lid, and another button to discharge the lid and reset the coil.  

Refactor the World! – Your Name – Your Class

Kaleb Peaden

Professor Canare

September 30, 2013

Engineering 101

Bad Human Factor Design Analysis


I found myself at the dentist and forgot to brush my teeth before I came in. Luckily they had a brushing station with disposable toothpaste and toothbrushes. Opening the twist off I saw that there was tin foil on it glued on to it for a seal. Remembering from when I was a little kid that there was a needle on top of the twist off cap to poke the foil to break the seal. When I was little though I was unaware of the needle on the top. So not knowing what to do I tried to break the seal by squeezing it, as a result it shot all over the mirror in front of me.                         This is an example of poorly designed human factor



      Possible Solutions

  • Break off twist cap like on soda bottles
  • Lift up cap like on other toothpastes
  • Put directions on the label


The disposable toothpaste with a foil cover on it is probably the most cost effective solution for dentists to use. But if a company such as Colgate were to mass produce the product with the break off twist cap such as on a water bottle, it would still provide the seal needed to keep the toothpaste from drying out. While at the same time be a better engineered design more inclined for humans.



Refactor the World! – Marlo Griffith – 0930


    The can opener is an interface between humans and food intake. You have canned food for eating and the interface is the can opener. Humans interface with the canned food by the use of the can opener.


    Canned food is a solution to many issues with food becoming perishable within a short distance of time, and canned food help with this. Many food items come in cans now: tuna, spaghetti, fruit, vegetables, etc, and are a great solution for a need for storage
But the problem that arises with canned food is the dreaded can opener. Can openers are meant to be an easy and helpful way to open a can but most of the designs are not user-friendly. If a person had never used a can opener before, they might find it very difficult to use. I’ve found that myself and many others have many issues with can openers. Another issue is that handheld can openers are not usable by people whom are left-handed; thus the solution is not universal. 

     The future of the can opener could come to end because more and more companies are making their canned food with pull tabs which could potentially cause some companies to lose money. If there is no demand for a can opener, then there will be no supply. 


 The can opener design is, by first glance, very confusing.


 Available Solutions:

    Even though humans struggle with a can opener very often, the design still hasn’t changed much. The solution available is a handheld metal clamp that clamps onto the edge of the can and the user cranks a shaft to turn the clamp around the edge. This solution has been the same for many years and yet many different companies come out with almost the same exact design and people still buy them, because canned food is becoming an even bigger commodity (especially non-perishable items). 
Product Detailsthis item is for $181

Another solution is an automatic can opener, but even this one can be difficult to use, and very costly:
this item is for $402


 User input/comments:

    Dominic Canare: ”Dude – I have this REALLY cool can opener….. It’s pretty awesome, but after owning and using it for YEARS, I still don’t know how to get a can started on it. Every time, I fumble for a few minutes… and then somehow get lucky and it starts working like magic.”         

Nicole M: “ Being left handed and using one doesn’t work! I always have to get someone else to do it for me.”







Refactor the World! – Nicole Ramirez – 09:30 am

Human Factors Definition: 

Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theoretical principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well being and overall system performance.

Practitioners of ergonomics, ergonomists, contribute to the planning, design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, organizations, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people.

  Credits for definition: International Ergonomics Association website and it can aso be found in the 04: Refractor the world assignment in the engineering 101 website

Object: The Shower

Problems: What it feels like using your friend’s shower: 

 1. The need for an universal shower can no longer be ignored. It is the 21st century and people are still having problems using their friend’s shower. It is an embarrassing experience that can be evaded.


2. Why is it so hard to find the right temperature in the shower? Why are we using nobs when we know that one tiny little slip can end up causing third degree burns?


Credits for pictures:


1. People love pressing buttons, it’s like an instinct to us. Why not have just two simple buttons? One is to release the water on the shower head and the other, in the shape of a big red stop sign, is used to end the shower.


Credits for picture:

 A drawing of my solution.

 2. For easy temperature adjustments there is the big thermometer that has  a little sliding notch to indicate the desired temperature. The thermometer will come with one side in Fahrenheit and the other in Celsius that way it can be easily used by travelers around the world without having to do math.

  Image A. of the Thermometer  Image B. of the Thermometer

Credits for shower photos: Special thanks to my friends McKenzee Kroeschell, Samantha Meyer and Griselda Rojas for sending me their shower photos. Also to my mom for letting me take pictures of her bathroom.

Other examples of objects that need to become human friendly:

1. Toilets- The toilets in America are very different from the toilets in other countries.

2. The pouring system for milk and for waffle batter in the Fairmaount Towers Cafeteria. You don’t know if you need to pull it up or down.

Refactor the World! – Ryan Robey – 11:00- 12:15

The can of Pringles is one of the worst interfaces ever. A person with hands bigger than say a small child cant reach into the can to get any chips. It makes eating Pringles way more difficult than it should be. My solution to this problem is that we take the design of the bottom of a stick of deodorant and place that at the bottom of the Pringles can. The solution is practical although you would lose a little room for the chips themselves but i believe it is a worthwhile cost.


Refactor the World! – Rochell Delevante– 1100

There are many items that I believe to be incorrectly built. Such items have not been replaced with newer working models and we continue to use them and try to figure them out because we don’t think we have any other

choice.  Here is a list of that I have encountered.  Some of the items that I am about to mention have been replaced with proper working devices.  Soap dispenser in the bathrooms are the worst and most confusing equipment.

I don’t care if you are at Disney World in Florida or in Paris, France.  The idea of the soap dispenser is to deliver soap, but the device makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to fulfill that need.  The dispenser has a push

button in front of it that when you push the button you also have to make sure your hand is under the hole at the same time.   Let’s continue with the bathroom and let’s talk about the paper towel dispenser.   Some dispensers

have a part on the side where you have to twirl it around in a clockwise motion until the paper comes out (WRONG!). Also, some businesses tend to position the paper dispenser in awkward places or not easily accessible for

some (like small children).  Sometimes the paper towels get stuck in the device.   Some businesses have changed to a new device that uses a sensor to operate the soap and towel dispensers. 


My next problem is with my cell phone.  I use to own a Nokia something (very old phone from the 90′s) so when I purchased my first smartphone, which is the Galaxy S2, I though that Samsung had all the answers.

First I did not know what button to press to turn it on.  The next irritating part of the phone was scrolling on the screen When I need to read towards the button, instead of swiping down, I have to swipe up.  To read the top of a 

page, I have to swipe down (that’s confusing).  I was totally confused and I thought well maybe I am not smart enough to own a smartphone ( I felt embarrassed).


I own a 1991 Honda Civic. I believe that the interior of cars whether new or old model are poorly designed. For example, in my car to turn on the interior light, I have to stretch my hand touch the top and search

for the button and the hit the button.  Why can’t the button be on the steering wheel or on the dashboard.  Maybe it was created that way because the light up top can brighten the car better than a light in front on the

dashboard.  Maybe the switch to the light could only be placed at the top and nothing else could fit by the dashboard.  Maybe my car is way too old and I probably should replace it.


Last, but not least are alarm clocks.  First I hate to change the time or set up the alarm, but the process takes awhile.  If I miss the number, I am out of luck and I have to start from number 1.  Alarm clocks can be annoying for

the person who does not need to wake up.  So why don’t we have alarm clocks that can be placed in out ear like a hearing aid so only person that needs to be waken up can benefit, but the entire household does not have to be

disturbed. There are many more objects and devices out there that we use everyday that are so poorly built.  But if you are like me that you just learn to deal with it, because you feel you are not smart enough to create 

something else or you think that maybe they made it that way because they wanted to be cheap.



Refactor the World! – Binh Dang– TR 930

Problem Statement

When you get into your new car, you would want to make adjustment to the seat. If you notice that there are two controls that is to the left of the driver seat while right on the passenger seat. One is suppose to make the seat higher and one is to push the chair back. When you first sit on the seat, the seat might be too low or too high. You would want to change it but you are not sure which control is to push the chair back and which is to make the seat higher. There is no way that someone can tell which is which just by looking at the two controls. I did not know until I start messing with it. Something so simple can actually waste times. 

Personal experience

I was suppose to take a friend of mine home the other day. When she got into my car, she wanted to make the seat higher but she was messing with it for at least 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, she gave up and ask me how do you make the chair higher. I couldn’t even explain it to her how because I didn’t know which is suppose to make the chair higher or put the chair back. I feel so stupid, it was my car but I didn’t know how to work it. 


My solution is to make it more clear as to what make make the seat high or low or what push the chair back. We can try to putting symbol on the control that way it would be easier to differentiate the two. Also that way, when someone who is completely new to the car can just look at the symbol and make changes according to their liking. Underneath is a picture that I drew. In the picture, there are two symbols that I thought would be helpful to differentiate the two. 




Refactor the World! – Derrick Contreras – 9:30

Since the dawn of civilization foot ware has been available humans. Throughout history the shoe has transformed in a seemingly progressive way from the Mesopotamian era (1600B.C.-1200B.C.) where shoes were simply leather wrapped around the feet, to the present where shoes that have protective soles with intricate fabric designs on the sides and laces designed to strap the shoe to the foot are manufactured. Shoe manufacturing is a multi-billion dollar business. Companies such as Nike and Sketchers produces shoes which millions of people use on an everyday basis.  Yet, despite the massive amount of money spent on shoe production, and the massive amount of use of the common shoe on a world-wide scale, its current design displays poor human factoring on a biomechanical level. 

Walking Barefoot

The link above leads to an experiment report over the affects of walking barefoot rather than with shoes. In this study, subjects with Osteoarthritis were required to walk at  constant speed with shoes on, then walk at the same speed without shoes on. The results of this study show that shoes add 11.9% knee adduction as well as 12% increase in knee loads and 11% in hip loads. Over time these “loads” put joints under great stress creating chronic pains. Summarized, this study shows that somehow shoes detrimentally change the way we all walk, but how does the design of the shoe actually affect the way we walk?


 To describe how the common shoe works against humans natural walk, the human gait, or walking process, must be described. Due to the complexity of the human gait- a process that uses over half of the 620 muscle and 200 bones in the human body- only a surface level description of human gait will be given. At the start of a stride, or contact phase, the heel is the first part of the foot to hit the ground. As the person moves forward, weight shifts onto the heel. During the mid-stance phase he ball of the foot then strikes the ground and the weight is evenly balanced between the ball and the heel. The person then shifts the weight forward onto the ball of the foot and the toes now putting the foot in the propulsive phase. the ball of the foot and toes work together to push off the ground, propelling the body forward. In the next section we will discuss three major design flaws of the shoe that negatively influence this process of gait.


1. The Heel:

- In common shoes the heels are raised, whether is be a slight raise for a heel cushion or a big raise for high heels. In both case, though one more drastic than the other, the raised heel pushes the weight distribution more towards the balls of the foot rather than evenly amongst the two. This also causes the calf muscles to shorten with constant use.

2. Toesprings:

The toe was engineered as a solution to the shoes inflexibility at the balls of the foot. It was designed to create a smoother rolling motion while walking. There are two new problems that come along with this solution though. One is the elevating of the toes. Because the toes are elevated off the ground by the toe spring, the propulsive force they would normally provide is gone and now has to be provided the already overworked balls of the feet. The other problem with the toespring is that when combined with the elevated heel, they create an “angle apex that has a dagger-point effect on the ball.

3. The Sole:

In the human foot, the balls of the feet are referring to the joints in which the metatarsals (as shown in the picture to the left) and the toes are connected. When walking naturally, all of the metatarsals line up evenly distributing the weight. The problem with the shoe sole is that roughly 80 years ago, a shoe manufacturer added  dip in the sole under the first ball of the foot to make the shoed foot seem smaller and more visually appealing. This divot, with time and wear, creates a sink hole that drops the next two balls of the foot down and leaves the last two on higher ground. This shifting of the metatarsals pushes weight inward causing the knee adduction increase when wearing shoes.


Overall, when wearing shoes a person is pushing the balls of the foot into a hole and then overloading them with work the should be shared with the heel and toes. Muscles in the knees, hips, and ankles are put under stress to stabilize these unnatural gait movements and in the long run, wearing these poorly made shoes will lead to chronic lower body joint pains. There is a simple solution for this problem though.

The Solution:

As the barefoot experiment shows, walking barefoot reduces a lot of stress put on the lower body. It only makes sense that the shoe with the best human factoring is the one that can best fit to the natural movements of the human gait. Allow the toes to do work in the propulsive phase, leave the heel at the same level as the rest of the foot, and remove the divot below the first metatarsal. As you can see for the picture on the left, companies are starting to put shoes like this on the market, the real problem is getting the public informed of the harmful affects of the “normal” shoe.



Why Don’t More Companies Do This?

The biggest reason is profit. The cost to make these innovative shoes would exceed the cost of making the currently popular shoe styles. Plus its easier for a business to continue to sell what is popular rather than try to completely change the trend. Overall business make more money selling the current shoe designs so they will not change it, not even for its better human factored alternative.

Sites For Sources!

Refactor the World! – Husnain Shafqat – [TR 0930-1045]

Problem Description:
I have been running into this problem since the day I started driving. And I’ll say it is silly as well which is a small pull button we have in our cars to open the gas cap is in real close distance with the button for the trunk too. These both lever machines are really similar in design and are in such close proximity that it can be confusing to many people at times.
I do hope you know what I am talking about because my hands being big, I have always opened the trunk first and went to fill up gas to find out that I did not open it. Back home (Pakistan) I used to just pull over at a gas station and they would fill it up for me, that is how it used to work there and I still never used to do it right. But now that I came here and have to walk out and do it myself, it can get kind of annoying.

NOTE: I have realized it recently, that we all are surrounded by many human factors which are not practical but we still do them anyways until the day we find a change in it and realize that what we used to do before wasn’t practical at all.

Solution to this is really simple and I guess you would have figured it out by now as well. That there has to be a separate button in your car somewhere else which controls this function in a car. And as my note mentioned that we would not find the solution or change in human factors until we see it our selves and that is exactly what happened to me because I had to get a rental car which was a 2013 model with all new features. That car had this option and it made me relieved to see it.

I hope the pictures are helpful to demonstrate the problem and its solution as well.

Refactor the World! – Corey Cranmer – 0930


After procrastinating until the last day before being due, I noticed a poor design in the Fairmount Cafe. The flavored water dispensers are meant to do exactly what their name implies; dispensing water into your cup or container. The flavored water dispensers have two major problems, though.

The first problem is its height compared to the cups you get for your beverages. Normally, you’d just slide your cup under the dispenser and go on your way. However, the dispensers in the cafe hang lower than the height of the cups. You have to tilt your cup to get it under the dispenser.

How inconvenient.

The other problem with this dispenser is its nozzle switch.

Are you supposed to pull it down to point at you, or push it down to point away from you? It doesn’t really give you any indication. When you pull it down to point at you, it stays on its own and fills your cup.

It also works if you push the nozzle away from you, but it doesn’t stay. You have to hold it down the whole time.


Fixing these issues would be pretty easy. If they didn’t want to redesign the height of where the nozzle sticks out, you can personally place the dispenser on a stack of books or something else to make it higher. As for the nozzle switch itself, I think the side that keeps it held down on its own is more convenient. A simple “Pull Down Here” or “Pull This Side Down” would suffice, or even “Pull Down” if there isn’t enough space on the correct side.

Refactor the World! – Benjamin Fillipi – 9:30

Refactor The World! Gold

Issue: It is often difficult to open and seal cereal bags. The bags within cereal boxes are sometimes difficult to open – tearing, splitting, refusing to open at all by hand. Then it is difficult to fold the bag up such that the cereal stays fresh. In a typical household, a box may take more than a week to be used up, and the unsealed bag often lets the cereal go stale.

Solution: Typical to a variety of other packages, create a bag that looks like a big rectangular Ziploc bag. It would have the top end of the bag sealed, but with perforations that make it easy to tear off the top edge. Then you can use the Ziploc portion to easily seal the bag and prevent stale cereal. People with arthritis  and even children will find this easier to use. This idea could be expanded to other bagged food that is often not immediately used up, such as crackers and chips which would make it possible to preserve them for longer with out tons of preservatives.
Here’s an example of what this could look like.
I used a gallon size zip lock bag and switched the contents.

Analysis: The only real reason i could think of that this isn’t done already is that it isn’t cost effective.

The Higher Button – Andrew Burdick – TR 0930


The bottom button goes up, and the top button goes….

This is a simple panel that most of us have seen dozens of times. Press one of the buttons, and you will soon have an elevator cab ready to carry you in the direction selected. The panel pictured above is from the first floor of the northern tower at Fairmount , where the elevator is used regularly by the students living on the higher floors. 

Like most elevators on the first floor of a building, there is one directional button to summon the elevator cab. But this panel includes an another button exclusively for fire procedures. This button would not normally be a problem, and is probably on countless elevator panels around the world. The confusion arises because of the fire button’s placement directly above the singular direction button. If a user was attempting to board the elevator with out paying close attention, they may easily push the fire button with the intention of getting an upward cab. I have nearly pressed this button several times. I am not sure what exactly happens when this button is accidentally pressed, but the any unnecessary stress the user and others would experience is reason enough to modify the design.

 The best suggestion I have for fixing this problem, aside from moving the button to a different area on the panel, is to install a “button guard”. This clear piece of plastic would be hinged on one side so that it could easily be opened and pushed, but prevent accidental pushes by adding an additional layer of complexity to the button-press itself. The main reason I choose this solution is that average users will leave it alone due to its abnormal appearance, and in an emergency the “shield” can be opened in a moment’s notice. The only reason I can imagine that explains the use of this design is the fact that it could save on production costs by using a panel similar most designs. 

Edit: Just learned that the “button guard” is often referred to as a “Molly guard”

Fantastic interfacing action!

Refactor the World! – Alex Hohler – 11:00


I work at Office Depot as a cashier on the weekends. It came to my attention that the last question customers have to answer on our debit/credit card reader is completely unintuitive.

The question offers the costumer the choice to choose whether they would like to receive their receipt printed in the store, emailed, or both. Not only do a lot of customers look baffled, but they get angry that they have to answer a question after their money has been accepted. Customers are used to having their receipts printed without any extra questions. I specifically remember one customer telling me he was not going to shop at Office Depot anymore because of that question.  A lot of the time I will end up having to press the button for them on the machine because they do not even read it or know that it is there. This slows down the checkout process significantly. There are also customers that request no receipt as well and they do not have that option on the pad. The question does not even ask if they would like their receipt printed which causes confusion, it only mentions the printed option as a button on the bottom.  The interface is between the customer and the machine.



 I have thought of some different options to solve this problem. The first would be to get rid of the question all together on the pad, and instead have the cashier ask it to the person aloud. The input would then be done by the cashier on the register screen and the customer would have the option to request whether they would like their receipt printed, emailed, both, or receive no reciept. It would be a simple, “And would you like your receipt printed or emailed?” and then one press of a button. This would make the checkout process faster.

Another solution would be to reword the question on the pad to, “Would you like your receipt printed or emailed?” The options to click on the bottom would be changed to emailed, printed, both, or none. The question would also be moved to the very beginning of the checkout process rather than after their card has been authorized and they think they are done. This would be easier for the costumer to understand and make the checkout process a little faster. I would probably not get as many “what am I suppose to click on here?” questions.


Refactor the Snack! – Michael Acker – 11:00

Refactor The World! Gold

Standard wrapped granola bar

Standard wrapped granola bar

In our modern world we spend a large segment of our time on the go, sometimes for ten or more hours at a time. In order to maintain functionality and comfort for such a long time, our bodies need food, but most food items are cumbersome, spoil easily, melt at low temperatures, or are otherwise impractical as a portable food source. Perhaps the best solution for such a predicament is the wrapped granola bar. 

      Granola in mostly made of oats, which are high in healthy carbohydrates and contains protein, and when mixed with nuts, sugar and oil make an exceedingly yummy and solid bar that that will not spoil or melt. So all you need to do to keep your body running strong through a busy day is pack a nice crunchy granola bar, wrapped in an airtight material to keep it nice and fresh, while preventing it from getting crumbs everywhere. 

Opening a granola bar

    Sadly, it is not quite so simple. Granola bar wrappers, though simple in design, are anything but simple in operation. The tear-able ends of the package is oriented lengthwise, so that when one tears the package the tear will progress lengthwise along the bar. To make matter worse, the bar of food will frequently interfere with the tear, since the tear intersects the bar along it’s entire path, and curve off to the side, forcing the hungry human to have to then peel the seam of the wrapper apart. This allows access to the granola, but at what cost? The wrapper, now unable to hold crumbs, is in two pieces, and one in forced to eat the bars with no crumb catching sleeve around them.

Opened bar

Opened bar

   The solution is simple. Very simple. If the tear-able part of the wrapper was perpendicular to the granola bar and slightly offset off the edge of the bar so that it did not intersect, the bar could slide smoothly out and the wrapper could still be used as a sleeve, or folded back up in the event that someone had to put their granola bar away without finishing it. 

New design

New design

   I have designed a new wrapper out of aluminum foil that accomplishes the task with much less effort. By hand (using only a chopstick to aid in curling) An aluminum foil wrapper that will tear in a convenient lateral fashion can be made in about 30 seconds. 

How one opens the new wrapper

How one opens the new wrapper


Opened Bar

Opened Bar

Refactor the World! – Chandler Bolen – 1100

Problem: Volume controls on smartphones.

Ever since I got a smart phone one major problem has plagued me, Why do the volume controls not change when you switch phone layout? Every time I watch a video I instinctively push the volume button in the direction I want the volume bar to go, but when in landscape view the direction is switched. Pushing right will lower the volume and pushing left will raise the volume. Ever since smartphones have been around this has been the case which is why I think that they do not solve the problem. You must learn to always press left if you want to raise the volume if you are in landscape view. There is a simple solution to this, have the volume controls reverse when the phone goes into landscape mode. This will allow the phone’s normal operations to be unimpeded and more instinctual. This way when you are in portrait view pressing up on the volume control will raise the volume and down will lower it, and when you are in landscape view pressing right will raise the volume and pressing left will lower it.


Even other people have this problem.

YouTube Preview Image
Refactor the World! – Michael Kay – 11:00


 While going about my everyday life I started to notice more and more things that are poorly designed. One thing stood out more than any other though, my mini fridge. I noticed when people went to get a soda out of my mini fridge they would try to open it the wrong way. At first I thought it was just one of my friends being stupid, but then more and more people started to try and open it the wrong way. This made them feel embarrassed and get red in the face. Then I started to look at the design of it more and realized that it was not their fault that it was not opening correctly it was a poorly designed mini fridge. What makes it poorly designed is the fact that there is no side with a handle or indent to apply leverage to open the mini fridge. Instead it has a central point on the fridge to where you can apply leverage to in order to open it. This causes people to grab on the wrong side of the fridge and not be able to open it. The design could have been vastly improved if it just simply had a handle on the side that opens. This would cause a lot less confusion for people in the future. The original designers of this mini fridge probably didn’t put a handle on the fridge because they didn’t think that people would have such a problem with it today. 

Refactor the World! – Jublain Wohler – 11:00-12:15

Privacy is something that everyone appreciates. So why would anyone designing a building want to take that away? This is the questoin I ask myself every day when I use the door knob on the bathroom doors in the dorms. The doors have locks to help with privacy right? NO! The doors have locks but on the outside so you can get locked out of your room?? That doesn’t make any sense to me. The reason this fails is because people want to keep others out not let them in. The best way to fix this would be to change the locks to have the button locks on the inside to keep people out but have a key lock on the outside so in case someone locks both doors with no one in it. This is a way better setup instead of the current one. 

Refactor the World! – Colton Berblinger – 1100

The poor design that I found was the hand brakes on a bicycle. Most bikes have two hand breaks; one for the back tire and one for the front tire. The issue though is how do you know which one is for which tire. When traveling at high speeds if someone was to hit the front break this would most likely send them flying forward off the bike. I know I have experienced this when learning to ride a bike and even years after. It is a common problem that many people have experienced but it has not been improved on.

 The system interface is the hand brakes and what it is connecting is the person riding the bike and the brakes down by the wheel. My idea to improve on the design is to simply give a reminder to the rider about which hand brake goes to which tire. The idea is a color coded matching. With this the common sense comes into play and the rider simply just as to match the color of the hand brake with the color of the spokes and rims on either the front or rear tire. Bikes have always had the standard shinny metal spokes and that design has not changed because it has worked for years and nothing was wrong. My idea is to simply add a small change to make a difference to a simple yet possibly harmful problem with a rider and their bike.  




Refactor the World! Samuel Schwartz, 9:30-10:45 TR

Through much searching for a good example of a poor human factors design, I finally reached the end of my quest a little closer to home: my alarm clock.  The alarm clock is a wonderful tool that combines both the ability to view the time (measured through the human understanding of hours and minutes of a 24-hour day) and an alarm to wake the user at an appointed time.  This fascinating device interfaces the will of a human directed through their fingertips with an object that measures time.

Design of my alarm clock:

The front glass screen of the alarm clock shows the time, as well as three potential red dots on the screen (excluding the colon separating hour from minute).  These are: the PM dot (lit for PM and unlit for AM), the alarm dot (lit if alarm is active and unlit otherwise), and the battery low dot (lit if battery is low and unlit otherwise, though you can plug it in to a power source to avoid using batteries).  The top has five buttons: the Snooze button, and above them in line the Time, Hour, Minute, and Alarm button respectively.  The pressing of the Snooze button makes the blaring alarm stop and delay itself for five minutes before again sounding to wake the user. Holding down the alarm button causes the set alarm time to be displayed instead of the current time.  The other three buttons serve together in changing the time; while holding down the Time button, pressing the Hour button causes the hour displayed to move forward one hour, and pressing the Minute button does the same with respect to the minutes displayed.  In order to change the set alarm, the same process is done with the Alarm button held down instead of the Time button.  On the side are three switches giving the ability to set various capabilities of the alarm.  The first turns the alarm on or off, the second changes the brightness of the displayed screen from high to low, and the third changes the loudness of the alarm from loud to gentle.  Pictures to aid in visualization are below.

                        Pictures: Front, top, right side, and front with alarm button engaged respectively.

Design Failures/Oversights:

Perhaps designers have made alarm clocks with the observed fallacies remedied in some way (especially because my alarm clock is a little old), but if they have not, the design fails in a few ways.  The first issue is fixing the time; if the power went out for a significant amount of time, the time that the alarm clock shows needs to be adjusted.  However, the complicated method of changing the time makes this difficult on the ignorant (or forgetful) user.  Also, when changing the time (the minutes especially), the clock registers the button presses so slowly that any significant amount of time changing can be an incredibly dull and drawn-out task.  A design alteration in a minimal way would make any such issues easier to solve, such as illustrated in the pictorial example below:


Proposed Solution:

With the simple removal of the annoying and seemingly useless Time button and the addition of a “Time” switch that enables a change from either changing the time or leaving the time set, the alarm clock is more user friendly.  This solution also applies to changing the alarm time, by switching to “Change Time” mode and then holding the alarm button while modifying the time.  My solution is very simple and designers can make it happen by changing the outlet of the time change function.  As per the slow task of changing the time, merely fixing the system so holding down on the minute or hour button to make the time shift faster instead of singular button clicks will solve that.  The alarm clock may not have be originally this way because the designers wanted to ensure the time displayed would not change merely from the accidental slip of the finger or other decisively heavy object that could potentially press a button.  However, this solution is too complicated, whereas my suggestion follows logical reasoning.




Refactor the World! – Bobby Gaylor – 0930

Address Bar vs. “Ridiculous Onslaught of 3rd party piggy backed search bars and utilities”

This is a multipart problem in which I will explain and then offer a partial solution for the first problem and a more suggestive solution for the targeted problem of this article. 


In the last three weeks, I have had many technical support cases with employees who have very limited exposure to computers. In many cases I will start a Webex screen-sharing session with them to take control of their computer while I speak with them on the phone. Two cases resulted in having to bring a different employee to the computer because the original employee could not even navigate to the proper URL. This could have been attributed to “white-box” overload where there are many search apps installed on the browser and each attempt to navigate to an address yielded a completely different user experience.

Problem#1 – Software installations targeting unsuspecting users for 3rd party installation


Search Bar/Search Bar App: Third-party software installed to embed into your browser a bar providing but not limited to a search bar with weather, quick-links or other scripts. Not to be confused with a search engine.

Search Engine: A program for the retrieval of data from a database or network. Often hosted at a web address such as

The user didn’t know enough about everyday computer use to un-check boxes to install search bars onto the browser while installing software such as Java. It has become a big deal to offer others’ software via check-box during a software installation. This is due to another human factor where we have grown accustom to simply clicking through the “Next” buttons to finish the installation. The unsuspecting user would simply click the next buttons, never seeing or comprehending the 3rd party installation. 


Working in the I.T. field, I constantly find people with super massive search utility bars stacked on their browser. In extreme cases it reduced the visible browser area to less than 60% of the original area. The user has no idea how the search bars were installed and doesn’t know how to remove them. In some cases with the more deplorable installations, they require advanced knowledge to completely remove them from the browser, as they attempt to set the home page to a checking script that will advise the user to re-install the search bar. Conduit is one of the big offenders of being a pain in the side.


Although not my original topic, I believe there can be something done to fix this. Without further research I will simply offer, “There should be a law against this type of preying on unsuspecting users.” 

Problem#2 – Browser function flexibility causes users to lose or not develop an understanding for browser mechanisms

Users often do not know the difference in the address bar and a search bar. Most modern browsers will allow the address bar to fail over to a search query of the users preferred search engine if the address can’t be resolved. Likewise most search bars will easily resolve a web address. In the case of less-savvy users, this can be a headache for I.T. support, as mentioned in the scenario because I expect them to be seeing the address main page rather than a search result page. 


Search engines should not only return web address results but offer a bold pop-up with something such as:

“A web address URL has been detected. Would you prefer to navigate to the address rather than return related search material?”

Some would suggest that this pop-up may turn out to be very annoying after time. My response would be that the flexibility written into browsers has made the users less aware of particular functions of the web browser. An address bar should be used to navigate to a web address. A search bar should be used to send a query to a search engine.

Refactor the World! – Andrew Pettigrew– 0930

Here is, what I consider, to be a poor design that I only noticed once I had the experience first hand. I wake  up one morning and get on my computer to check the news, email, etc. and I put my leg up on my desk shelf because it makes a nice footrest. Apparently my brother had left a glass of water on my “footrest” the night before. Before I can appropriately react, it was too late; the damage was done.  From what I’ve been told (not much of a computer tech myself), I got off lucky with a fried power supply, one operational USB port remaining, and ruined audio outputs. You may be asking yourself, “Where is the poor design, this guy just left water above his tower?” Firstly, I didn’t leave the glass there. Secondly, people have a tendency to do what they want; not what they should do. Good example, who remembers LimeWire? You’re almost asking for a virus if you downloaded music from LimeWire; but hey, it’s free music right? So why are computers not designed with human nature, especially kids, in mind? 


This particular model has two vents on the top of the tower; most likely to let warm air rise out of the tower. These two vents are the worst part of the design. I realize how important it is to keep the computer internals cool but it can be d0ne without leaving a vulnerable point. The simplest solution would be to eliminate the top vents and if necessary put vents on the side, toward the top, with louvers over the vents. This would help keep water and dust out of the tower. I think the design of a tower should go above and beyond simply not having vents on the top. A more reasonable standard would be no damage to the tower when a cup (8 oz.) of water is poured on top of it. One of the selling points of smartphones and laptops is the durability, which includes water resistance. Even without ventilation on the top, water could still do extensive damage through ports and plugs.

The design would be similar to that of a house. Items toward the top would overlap whatever may be below it ensuring the water cannot get underneath anything. Vents on the side would have louvers with screens to keep foreign debris from entering. Plugs would have to be designed so water would run around the edges without being able to enter the plug or the cord that is plugged in. A small “roof” over the back of the tower would help prevent damage. As for the overall design of the tower, it would be best to move the water towards the corners because that is where it would do the least amount of damage. This could be achieved with a tapered top and “gutters” for the water to follow.



Refactor the World! – Britton Farney – 11:00

Winter Gloves 

Problem: Imagine the following scenario, snow covers the ground and you decide to enjoy the winter wonderland outside. As you play in the snow you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket, perhaps a text, maybe you need to sent a tweet about how much fun the snow is, or you need to make an emergency call. There is just one problem. It’s negative 30 degrees outside and there is no way you are taking your glove off your hand. How can you interact with your touchscreen phone and text that person if the touch screen can’t recognize your finger through the glove? It is an inconvenience to have to take off the glove to use your touchscreen phone. In today’s society many people have touchscreen phones so the gloves have a design flaw that won’t allow people use their touchscreen phone without taking the glove off.

Solution: By placing a material on the pointer finger and thumb, that would allow the touchscreen to sense the electrical impulse we conduct from our fingers, gloves wouldn’t need to be removed to use phones with touchscreens. The material would be thin and perhaps have metal integrated in the fabric to transmit electrical impulses. This would be a simple solution that would easy to mass produce and would be popular with the high use of touchscreen phones. The fabric would also not allow heat to escape the glove which would defeat the purpose of the glove all together.



Refactor the World! – Thomas Simpson – 11:00

Handles on Sinks



          The common handle or knob of a faucet is something that most, if not all, of us have encountered at some point in their life. By pushing the handle up water comes out of the faucet. If you think about it wouldn’t it be more intuitive for water to come out when the handle is moved towards the faucet instead of away from it? Also how do you know of what direction to turn the knob or handle to get the temperature of water you are wanting. While most faucets turn to the left for hot and the right for cold, I have encountered some older faucets that this is reversed. Without knowing from experience what direction is which you would not know which direction to turn it to, which could lead to getting hot water when you want cold or vis versa. 


         The solution to this problem could be to reverse the way the handle moves to turn the water on. Wouldn’t it be more intuitive to pull the handle towards the actual faucet for the water to come out instead of pushing it away? However, I think that the best way is by just touching the faucet for water to come out. Some faucets now a days do implement this touch for water design. As for the water temperature the best way I can think of to fix this is to add symbols for hot and cold on the faucet so you know which way to turn it.



Refactor the World! – Zak Hassouneh – 1100



The problem that a lot of people have is lamps that have the black stick thing that you can twist in any direction and not knowing which way it will turn it on and how it has different modes of brightness by an extra click for each time you twist it. It interfaces the average person taking extra time out of their busy life to mess with a device that does not make sense. The design fails because when you look at a lamp and all the components to it and you just see a inch long black twist thing and you have no idea what to do with it. Do you push it in? Twist it clockwise? Counter-clockwise? Pull it out? Flip it up? Flip it down? Those are many reasons of why this design fails! Nobody has time for that!


This failure can be easily improved by simply just adding a flip switch instead. So basically this bright, shiny metal switch will be held in the down position when it is off and to simply turn it on all you have to do is flip it up. This seems very natural because children and even adults when they see a flip switch that is down the curious minds of the people like to flip it up to see what happens, which is why this device would be a perfect fit for a lamp. Also for the different levels of light we could install a circular thing to either dim or brighten the room. This would be a very easy fix for the different amount of light, simply just rotate it and it will get either dimmer or brighter depending on which way you twist it suitable for your liking.  This solution is very practical and can be easily added to the lamp without much of a headache, actually making it an easier design. The original designers did not in fact design it this way thinking people would be able to figure it out even though it does not make sense what so ever! This may cost roughly the same maybe a little more but in the end you will save money because you can dim the light to your liking and save money on lightbulbs. This would be an easy solution to help fix a problem for human factors!

Refactor the World! – Grant Neumann – 1100

Refactor The World! Gold


In the dorms at Fairmount Towers the bathroom doors can only be locked from the outside. Which means if you are in the bathroom it is impossible to prevent people from intruding on you. This results in either awkward encounters with your suite mates and the inconvenience of knocking before entering every time you must relieve yourself. The easy fix would be to replace the doorknob on the bathroom doors to allow the door to be locked from both sides, however this fix would be against the housing regulations at the towers.  



Room side of door (has push pin lock)


Bathroom side of door (as you can see there is no way to lock the door from this side)



Design a device that does not impede the movement of the door in any way. My design would also be able to notify the person in the room that the bathroom is occupied through a visual. 


My Solution:

I designed a device that would push a piece of paper under the bathroom door from the inside to notify those in the room that the bathroom was occupied. I came up with this idea from the way that porta potties are locked and notify those outside that it is occupied. I came up with a device that connected a lever to a paper that would curl under the door and protrude into the room approximately 3 inches. 


Materials Used:

  • 1 metal hanger
  • 1 piece of printer paper
  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape



Process for Building:

I straightened the metal hanger but kept an L bend at one end that protruded approximately 2 inches.  A square piece of duct tape was approximately 3 by 3 inches. Then the piece of paper was folded twice to make a 3 by 4 inch square. I taped the edges of the paper with masking tape to keep the paper from catching on the ground. I rolled the paper to give it a natural curve so that it would bend under the lip of the door more easily. After doing this I taped the paper to the duct tape square. Then I used masking tape to attach the metal hanger vertically down the middle of the door so that the L bend was at the same height as the door know which makes it easier for the user to access the L bend after closing the door. I also taped a cardboard square to allow the L bend to rest on when the device is not being used. This keeps the paper from dragging along the ground.


Walk into the bathroom and push the lever down to slide paper under door.



Unoccupied bathroom


Occupied bathroom        


My room mate and I have used this for the past week and found it to be very convenient.  In no way has it obstructed the use of the door. 


I believe that when the door was originally installed in the dorms the contractors were given the guidelines to only let the door be locked from the outside so they therefore just chose a door knob with a lock only on the outside. There are very little circumstances in which a door to a bathroom is restricted to only being locked from the outside so therefore this problem has not been looked into. 

Refactor the World! – Austin Bright – 1100

One thing that I have always been confused about is when there is a bathtub that doubles as a shower, why is it confusing to turn the shower part on? The system that interfaces a person with having water to cleanse themselves should be easy to use. I hate being at a friend’s house and having to go find them to ask how to turn their shower on. I should not need a little instruction sticker to attempt to explain to me how to turn 0n a shower. Also it never seems as though they are all the same either. Some of them you have to pull down on the nozzle and some has a knob on top of it that you have to pull up on. All of these shower designs fail because it should be quick and easy to turn on a shower and not filled with instructions or questions.

If you are in a hurry and you cannot figure out how to turn a shower on then you can be late. You can be completely naked at a friend’s house and then realize you have no idea how to turn the shower on so you have to get redressed to go find your friend to show you what to do. The worst of all could be that you’re the type of person who just gives up easy and when you cannot get the shower on you just say forget it and go about your day without a shower. While this is disgusting, it is a very real possibility with this flawed shower design.

I believe this system could easily be improved by making the option of shower or bath accessible with a switch. It would be so much easier seeing a switch and just flicking the switch up or down to determine what you want. Of course this switch could not be operated electronically because of the fear of being shocked when mixing water and electricity. I think that this switch should have some sort of connection to either the nozzle or the knob that when the switch is flicked it would either pull down on the nozzle or up on the knob turning on the shower.  I believe that this is a practical solution because we have switches for lights, garbage disposals, and many other things. Why not have one to make turning a shower on simpler?

I believe the original designers didn’t implement a switch because it would not be aesthetically pleasing to look at.






Refactor the World! – My DANG! – 930

Gas Pump Machine


Problem statement:

The process of pumping gas should be intuitive to us because we have been using the same machine for a decade or more. We should automatically know how to pump gas into our vehicle when we get to the gas station because everybody will need to use the gas pump machine at some point in their life. Yet, each gas station have their own design of the gas pump machine. This make it more difficult for people to operate the machine and their intuition to utilize objects could backfire against them.

This is an interference between humans and gas pump machines!


My experience and my mom’s friend experience with gas machines.


“I’m NOT stupid! The machine is stupid!”- Dominic (might not be the exact words)


My experience: I always pump my gas at the Dillions on the intersection of Web and Harry. I’ve only pumped at QT for a few time. The other day I was approaching Quick Trip that was also on Web and Harry, facing Dillions’s gas station. As I was approaching it, I saw the gas price went down so I decided to pump my gas there. I walked up to the pump and ready to pump my gas and was utterly confuse with their gas pumping machine. They had three different nozzle. Each nozzle is for a different price. Of course I didn’t read and picked up the first nozzle instinctively. Then, I noticed that the price was going from highest to lowest I almost pumped my car with premium gas! Who does that?! We, as human beings grow up reading things in alphabet order such as 1,2,3… or a,b,c…  However, QT wanted to be special and did their price from highest to lowest.The intuitive that we have for assuming things are in numerical order would cause people to easily make a mistake in the gas price without reading it first. Most people pump their gas with the lowest price gas (regular). Also, QT pump machine require you to lift up the lever after choosing the nozzle of the price you want in order for the gas to come out. If I had never pumped gas at QT before, I would not have know this. Comparing QT machine to Dillions, Dillions have a much more simple machine to pump your gas. For Dillions, after you pay, there is three buttons for the three different type of gas to choose from, and you just simply  press on the button of the price you want and you can fill up your gas tank. Also, Dillions only have one nozzle for their gas and the price buttons is going in order from lowest to highest which is the way we are used to.


“I’m NOT stupid! The machine is stupid!”- Dominic (might not be the exact words)


Mom’s Friend Experience: She is an Asian lady who did not know how to speak English very well. One day, she went to the gas station and parked her car next to the pump. There were two different hose for her to choose from, and not reading it, she though it was the same and just choose one. When she finish, she got in her car to start it and it did not starts. She had pumped the diesel gas into her car instead of regular gasoline. Diesel gas are made for cars that runs on diesel engine. Pumping diesel gas into a gas running car could cause the car unable to ignite the engine. She had to call her husband to take her home and they had to take the car to the repair shop to drain out her gas tank.

With one simple mistake at the gas station, so many things could go wrong with pumping your gas. It make people feel stupid for not being able to figure out how to use something that is so simple. It make us feel embarrass and ignorant for not knowing how to use such a non-complex machine. Gas pump machine have been around for a long time, yet a more intuitive and better way to pump gas has not been designed yet. I’m not the only one struggling with gas machines, this lady is also struggling.

“No! I’m NOT stupid! The machine is stupid!” moment


If I have the chance, I would re-design gas pump machine this way and ask my granny to test, operate it. If my granny can operate it intuitively and from basic knowledge, then anybody can operate it with basic knowledge and intuition.

My design of gas pump is based of Dillions’s gas pump machine on the intersection of Web and Harry. Dillion’s gas pump machine is the most intuitive and easy for human beings to operate. The price goes from lowest to highest, from left to right and they only have one nozzle for pumping gas and you do not have to pull up a lever or anything to activate the gas you want. Just simply press the price button which make people read and know that they are not about to pump the wrong type of gas. Also, they only have one nozzle for pumping gas. Making it less confusing with a variety of different nozzle. The customer can just focus on picking the price of the gas.


1. Design all of gas pump machine the same. Having all of the gas pump the same make it easier for people to operate and it would become intuitive for people to pump gas if they do the same thing over and over, just like after learning how to tie a shoe. After you have done it so many times, you do not need to think about it when you are tying your shoes anymore. You would automatically know how to do it.

  • Using Dom’s idea of not only adopting standardize gas pumps but also standardizing all car’s gas container. If all of the gas containers on cars are on the same side of the car, people would not have to park in different ways and would all read the button the same way, from left to right and not make the mistake of pumping the wrong type of gas.  
    • The only problem with having all car gas container on the same size is that for each gas pump, it would only be able to pump one car at a time from one side and not two cars on two different size. If we have standardize gas containers, and have two cars pump on both side of the pump, the gas pumping system would be exactly the same as it is right now. To further improve on this system and save space, it would be best to have a sign to state which way to enter and exist the pump. The new systems could also prevent two car from going the opposite direction to crash into each other if they did not see the other one coming from the same side of the pump.

How it would look with enter and exist signs.

2. .Design the pump machine hose to be longer so when I accidentally parked on the wrong side of the pump, I do not have to re-park and the hose would still be able to reach my car gas tank.Or I didn’t know that I’m suppose to park my car gas tank parallel to the machine. Also, the hose can be reel up to the side or inside the gas pump to save space.

3. Have stickers on the pump machine that have information on the different type of gas. The information is there to let people understand the different type of gas and why they are more expensive than the other. Also, it’s there for people to read when they are standing around, doing nothing while pumping gas. For an example, the information may contain facts about the different types of gas, how does it effect your engine (if any), and why are they more expensive than the other.

4. Keep the old way of pressing the button to choose the price and those button going from lowest price to highest price, from left to right. It is more intuitive to press a button then to operate a touch screen. And touch screen can lag and cause more problems for the pumper.

  • ADDITION TO BUTTON: Insert a screen into those button ( a regular screen, does not have to have color ) that display the actual price of the gas in BIG numbers to catch the pumper attention.

5. Pump would have three level handle (high, medium, low) to control the amount of gas going into the tank.

6. Have regular gas machine separate from diesel gas machine completely so people would not make the mistake of filling their tank with diesel gas. 

  • Designing diesel pumps separate from regular gas pumps would require a great amount of space because there is not a large amount of people who use diesel gas. Another design could be to add a sign right next to the diesel nozzle, stating in all capitals letters with bold and easy to read font, “NOT REGULAR GAS” to catch people attention and prevent them from accidently pump diesel gas. However, there are many people that does not read or pay attention to signs, therefore, the best solution is to make diesel gas hose bigger than a regular car gas hose. When the hose is bigger, it would not be able to fit into a regular car gas container and prevents people from acidently pumping diesel gas. Additionally, if the hose for diesel gas is larger, then all cars that runs on diesel gas need to be re-design it gas container to have a larger circumference opening/lid. 

A picture of what the gas pump would look like.

Since we are in a advance technology era, this design could be easily accomplish. It’s only adding a small screen to the buttons that is a major difference to the machine.

Some reason pass engineers did not adopt a certain ways in how the pumps operates:

1. One nozzle: With only one nozzle, all three different types of gas would go through and as a new type of gas go through the hose, it would mix the gasses together. However, the amount of mix gas would be very small, therefore, it should not affect the car.

2. Stickers on the button of price: Having just the stickers is not good enough because the it make it more convenient for the button to include the price so the consumers can automatically view the price of the gas they are about to pump. It would catch their attention better. Also, some gas station does not have the price on the machine itself like the Dillions on Web and Harry.

3. Extended hose: Pass engineers did not utilize the idea of having the hose extended because it may increase the risk of the hose breaking from people pulling in and out of it often and cause a gas leak.




Refactor the world! – Dien Kien – 1100

Problem – Airline Boarding procedures

In today airport it is common to arrive early, and wait in long lines to get thru security and sometime even longer waiting to board your flight. Many airlines from Alaska to United have been constantly changing and refine their boarding procedure to maximize over all workflow; however it is still not efficient enough. The cause is most likely due to simply ignorance and cost; the more you pay the earlier you board. The practice is so common that travelers simply accept it as part of traveling. We need a change to the current boarding procedures.


When I first look into this problem I start looking into other airlines and see how they modified their boarding process, then it came to me.  The problem is still going thru a bottleneck; one entrance one exit. Airports need to build additional or expand another entrance/ exit to connect to airplane that has more than one door. Most Airplanes have multiple doors, but only use during emergency. So the door is there it would not cost anything to modify existing build.  Now of course same cannot be said to the airports. However they should; they have somewhat previously solve the problem of the rising of complaint of long wait to receive your check in baggage, they simply move the baggage claim further from your arriving gate. It cost them millions to solve that issue, but they did it. Below is probably a very expensive solution, its expands all the current gate tunnel to accommodate planes that has multiple doors. With the current economy it won’t happen. So unless you have money to afford first class every time you fly, i suggest choosing an airline that offer free first bag check in, and travel with one carry on bag. 


Refactor the World! – Sir Daniel Seltenreich – 11:00


Assignment #4
Name Refactor the World!
Assigned 9/19/2013
Due 9/30/2013


The Plastic packaging around some items.


Let’s be honest, we all know how annoying this packaging is and I am sure that I’m not the only one out there who has cut themselves on this unnecessarily strong plastic. This packaging isn’t as common as it used to be but you can still occasionally find it some places. It is used to so that it can not be tampered with. They purposely designed it so that it would be hard to open but didn’t keep in mind that the ones who actually purchase the product have to open it also. 



They reason they use this kind of packaging is so that others will not mess with the product that is inside. So maybe they could have a machine that opens the package once the purchase has been made kind of like the clothing stores do with their security tags. I was thinking maybe a machine that cuts off the top of the packaging so that you can easily pull it apart later when you get home. 



Shower Controls



Every time I go over to someone else’s house and stay the night I usually want to shower before I go to sleep. However, whenever you use someone else’s shower it’s nearly impossible to actually figure it out. Below are three pictures of showers handles, the one on the left is the one I have at my house and the other two are pictures of shower handles I found on the internet but have seen before in numerous locations.



I think a good solution to this would be to have hot always on the left and cold always on the right. That will allow people who maybe don’t speak English to know that hot is on the right no matter what. I think it would also be beneficial to have just one knob that you need to turn to keep it simple as possible.  That way it also allows you to have a bath tub faucet if you want one, and all you have to do is pull up on lift level for the tub drain on the head of the faucet.



  • The location of batteries in newer cars. When my truck’s battery died one day I had my mother come jump me. But new cars now cover up their batteries so we had to completely take off a few pieces under the hood before we could actually get to the battery and jump my truck.
  • Water fountains that shoot out the water a good distance so you don’t have to suck on the spout to get some water. 
  • Store cards. Why does every store in the whole world need a card? There should be some universal card that you can put accounts onto from different stores so all you have to carry around is that one card for every store.
Refactor the World! – Harrison Shellhammer – Engineering 101 – 1100
Assignment #4
Name Refactor the World!
Assigned 09-19-2013
Due 09-30-2013

Cup Holder


Right as I left for class, trying to keep my eyes peeled like Mr. D wanted, I didn’t notice anything! When I got to my car I was like, this is going to be impossible! I immediately noticed this. (My cups were blocking me from tuning into my jams) This was exactly what Mr. D wanted for his project, I thought. So I snapped a pic!


I was trying to think of a solution but none came to mind, but here is what I came up with in some drawings to fix the problem!

Note: They still make cars with  this same problem today.


Ceiling Fans


The first thing that I had noticed concerning poor human factors was when I went over to a buddies house last week. He had a ceiling fan with two tassels the same exact size and made out of the exact same material. Now of course I pulled the closer one thinking it would turn the light on and off, but the fan was turned on. Me pulling the tassel again thinking the fan would die down and stop I grab the other tassel and turn on the light. I notice that the fan is now increased its speed! So I’m sitting here flustered with the fan because at this point it had done nothing I wanted right from the start. My friend then told me the fan had three speed levels.


There should be four tassels. Three should be on one side, each at one inch intervals, the smallest being the slowest speed. Then on the opposite side have one tassel longer for an easy reach.


 These are some other bad human factors that caught my eye after catching these above.

  • USB ports- I always have an issue matching up the ends when I try to plug the USB into the port on my computer.
  • Gas caps on vehicles- Why would you have a gas cap on the passenger side, unless you were in another country. Who wants to walk all the way around there car to fill up?
  • New electronics- I got a new tv this weekend to play GTA V, and I found that the remote wouldn’t work. So I took off the case and there was a white tab between the battery and the connection to prevent it form battery use/loss. The problem I had with it was that there was nothing to let me know that the white piece was even in the remote preventing it from working. 
  • Oreo Bags- Everyone likes the Oreo’s reseal-able bags, but I have a hard time getting the Oreos out of the corner of the package. I always end up crushing the last perfectly good Oreo.