We've all dealt with them -- products that seemed to have been designed with the only consideration given to the user being the selling price! :<
Today, I'm dealing (again) with this rotary level to mark the location of the ceiling -- probably a common application!
Device has a keyhole slot from which you can hang it on a wall -- since the tripod would never be tall enough to support it from the floor. Of course, the hole lies behind the mechanism so you can't tighten a screw placed *in* that hole. Nor is there a second such hole that you could use to "fix" the device's position AND ORIENTATION -- remember, it's a LEVEL! -- on the wall. As such, it must "hang" from that one point.
This SOUNDS like a good idea -- *if* the device could hang *freely* (so that it always "settled" to a known position). But, since it is against a wall, the drag of the wall discourages it from swinging freely -- you'd have to add a lot of mass to it to get it to overcome that friction.
The on/off/speed potentiometer appears to have drag added to it intentionally! I.e., it requires a fair bit of effort to rotate the dial to "on", "off" or adjust the speed. So, you have to exert some force on the control to effect these changes.
Did I mention that there is no way to *fix* the device's position/orientation on the wall? I.e., each time you dick with it, you change that, subtly.
The spirit levels which are intended to be used to level the device are located on the *top* of the device. So, if you have the top of the device (the "business end") up at the top of the wall, there is no way of seeing the levels (resort to a small mirror held up for that purpose).
Battery powered (exclusively). So, while many job sites don't have "installed power" available, the availability of a genset won't help you when/if the batteries fail. Would a barrel connector for an external power adaptor ("sold separately")) and a blocking diode have been *too* much to include?
Granted, this was a cheap device bought for "two time use". But, the "better" devices seem to suffer from the same design issues.[I'm tempted to do some surgery on this one when I am done with it -- on the off chance that I need it a *third* time in the future and don't want to rediscover these problems, then!]
So, what's the process for evaluating/specifying user needs in product development at your places? Does anyone actually *talk* to a user before beginning development? Does the project manager, lead programmer, etc. simply take it upon himself to define those characteristics of the device? Is the device unveiled to select users JUST PRIOR TO RELEASE (i.e., when it is too late to make*real* changes) for feedback?
I've only worked with IE's a couple of times in the past (usually when client had *deep* pockets -- and a "valuable reputation"). OTOH, most of the devices I've been involved with had "reasonable" user interfaces (given the constraints of the technology, packaging, pricing, etc.) so I don't know how "bad ones" come about (though I can *imagine*!)