Usability can be applied to pretty much every created item. When someone creates something, it is often meant to fulfill a certain purpose. Different items have different levels of success when it comes to their usability. There is one item that I use on a regular basis that plays an important part in my life that I would like to investigate.
Teapots. There aren’t a lot to them and they all have essentially the same purpose. Put in tea, fill with hot water, brew, pour. Amazingly, though, there are a myriad of different tea pot designs and some are better than others.
Lets investigate what a good teapot really looks like. It might not be quite what you think!
Firstly, this beauty has the shape of a classic teapot. It’s got all of the standard characteristics of a teapot, but it contains one fatal flaw. It’s made of metal. Metal is a conductor, not an insulator, so not only will the water inside that teapot lose heat, but the handle will also be hot and could be incredibly uncomfortable to touch.
The original classic teapot. Simple, elegant, and much more cumbersome than necessary. When you go to pour this, you have to stick your elbow out almost at a right angle, meaning that you need to have space to pour it as well, lest you give your tea loving companion an elbow in the face.
This teapot will probably not burn you as the handle is made of a non-conductor, but you will most likely be elbowing people in the face again, and the spill potential is quite high since the handle of the tea pot is not a stable one. Because it is not attached directly to the main teapot, it is hard to control and likely to swing a little. This could get quite messy. The aesthetics of this teapot, though, are incredibly appealing. It is probably the prettiest one so its self-contained glamour may distract you from any trauma resulting from use.
And finally, how to get it right. This is the perfect teapot design. The handle is ceramic so it will be a little warm but not in a way that could burn the user. It is also likely to be an insulator. The handle is not only attached to the teapot, but it is in the perfect position. One can simply grasp the handle and turn the wrist without sticking out elbows or losing control. This teapot is not only pretty, but it is also perfectly usable. Bravo to the Japanese. They got it right!
So next time that you look to purchase a teapot, think about your entire user experience. Make sure that this object will be fulfilling in every way.