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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 13:26 GMT
Making things work - the vote
Compact disc
This band's CDs are no longer wrapped - another pet hate
It's World Usability Day, the chance to celebrate the products and services that make our daily lives easier and more efficient.

But there's a long way to go - consumers are more likely to scream in frustration while struggling with packaging than purr with delight because the website they're using is well navigated.

To reflect life's mixed bag of the good and the bad in this regard, readers have been nominating their pet likes and hates.

The most common entries are listed below.

And there's a chance to vote for the best and worse examples, on the right-hand side.


1. DVDs! After fighting to remove the cellophane outer wrapper (which always requires a sharp object), there are three adhesive sheets on each of the three openings, top, bottom and side. While attempting to remove the adhesive, you are left with dozens of tattered bits that must each be removed individually or the sheets rip off parts of the plastic case cover (in either case leaving a sticky substance forever on the cover) or sometimes they simply cannot be removed at all. Utter frustration for what should be a small pleasure.
Mike Robinson, California, USA

2. It's got to be food packaging - from milk bottles that have the lid welded on (but are too flimsy to take the really strong twisting forces needed to get past this), to the ridiculously over-glued plastic foil layer on packets of ham, that inevitably shreds into small curls that do nothing at all to stop the product from drying out in the fridge - surely we can do better than that in the 21st century?
Richard Peers, Croydon, Surrey

3. I can't abide being on an automated phone system, given several choices, none of which bear any relation to what you want, waiting interminably with music playing, only to be told that you're in the wrong queue and can't be transferred. The worst one for me is BT, although computer support teams and insurance companies aren't far behind!
Sarah Jennings, Brighton

4. I nominate Microsoft windows as the most user unfriendly product ever made, due to the need to constantly install security updates to patch over their cheesy design flaws. This is not to mention the frequent crashes and reboots.
Jim, Seattle USA

5. IKEA assembly instructions. Homo Sapiens take a million years to develop precise, unambiguous writing. IKEA explains how to build a wardrobe using cave art. Pass the charcoal...
Andrew D, London


1. Apple's iPods have excelled in ease of use since their first model four years ago. Yes, they are cool looking, but if they were not easy to use they would not be so popular. To put such an easy navigation environment on such a small screen with so elegant an input device as the click-wheel is shear genius.
Scott G Howard, Alabaster, AL USA

2. Nokia stand out for a common sense and logical approach to mobile phone functions.
Mark Woodward, London, UK

3. Who can't use a post-it within seconds of picking one up? And use it however they want - usually in ways that even the makers didn't even think of.
Jono Hey, Berkeley, USA

4. Payment by credit/debit card - point of sale machines. No need to carry cash, convenient, secure and it works!
Paul, London

5. Web sites that will complete all your personal information once you have entered an e-mail address once.
John Stainthorp, Chicago, USA

What's the worst example of usability?
DVD packaging
Food packaging
Telephone queues
Microsoft Windows
Ikea flatpacks
14810 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
What's the best example of usability?
Apple iPod
Nokia phones
Post-it notes
Credit card payment machines
Websites which remember you
14156 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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