Skip to content

Design matters (23): Aqualisa shower control bar

A shower control needs to give easy-to-interpret and unambiguous information to the user so that they intuitively know:

  • How to make the water hotter
  • How to make the water colder
  • How to turn the water on and off

Aqualisa is a good brand, but this shower control bar fails at all three.

When adjusting the temperature it seems clear where 38 degrees is… But do we increase the temperature by:

(a) turning the + towards the wall (which is also turning the control in the direction of the minus sign) or (b) turning it towards the user, moving “max” and the + away from the indicator notch and the minus symbol (-) towards it?

The answer is (b), which feels the slightly more intuitive of the two, but there should be no room for doubt.

A simple pair of red and blue triangles pointing in the direction to turn the tap for warmer and cooler water would suffice… And if the designer really wanted to preserve the monochrome aesthetic, grey arrows with “HOT” (or +) and “COLD” (or -) would be almost as clear as coloured ones.

The other side of the shower is only slightly better:

The uniform-width dotted line gives no directional cues: Which direction increases the pressure? Does the dot mean maximum pressure, or off?

Thankfully the water pressure was excellent, and the hot water abundant.

See also:

Design matters (22): Phases of the moon
Design Matters (21): Book of Common Prayer, built to last
Design matters (20): Ford Focus cup holder(s)
Design Matters (19): Craig Mod on margins and attention to detail
Design matters (18): Misleading graph based on PISA 2018 data
Design Matters (17): Elevator Control Panel Nightmares
Design Matters (16): Singapore MRT maps
Design Singapore: Changi airport (1)
Design Matters (15): Bucket Bath Edition (Kiramas 0318 vs Trixy GN311)
Design matters (14): stackable 6 litre water bottle by Singha
Design Matters (13): Dark Patterns
Design Matters (12): IKEA Detergent Bottle
Design Matters (11): PowerPoint Wizardry
Design Matters (10): Your iPhone Moment
Design Matters (9): Bruce Tognazzini’s First Principles of Interaction Design [Radio Edit]
Design Matters (8): Where’s that file?
Design matters (7): Death by PowerPoint
Design matters (6): Bosch hand-blender attachment
Design Matters (5): the information architecture of a water dispenser
Design Matters (4): a recipe for trouble
Design Matters (3): Ingenious board game tile holder and embodied memory
Design Matters (2): badly designed Android Bluetooth menu
Design matters: refrigerator control dial
Incremental innovation: coffee cups from Ikea
A well designed paper bag from Waitrose
Postbox: good info

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...