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I recently started to follow Seth Godin’s advice to start my day creatively by writing something. That got me thinking about all the stuff I do before I get a chance to actually sit down and write. (Get up, set the table, wake the kids, dress them, make sure they have food and all their school stuff and get them out the door, (my husband drives them to school). After that I clean up the breakfast mayhem and get myself clean and dressed for work..)

Only after all these steps do I have some time to sit down and write whatever comes up in my head.

But today this whole process got me thinking about the first thing I do do every morning.

When I just wake up, before I get out of bed to pee 🙂 I take my temperature.

For the past 3 years we’ve been using natural cycles as birth control and one part of this is taking your temperature orally every day.

I don’t have a problem with that.

I do have a problem with the design of the thing. It sure looks nice and is accurate. But I have to use this the moment I wake up!

That means it’s dark. My husband is still asleep and I have to pee.

So first I find the thing and turn it on. No problems here, just a light beep to let me know it’s on. But the first problem arises; it takes a few seconds before it’s ready to measure. But I can’t see shit because the display has no lights. So I take a wild guess and start measuring anyway.

The second problem arises; it takes a really long time before the thing is ready. Of course not really really long, but too long for someone who needs to pee.

The third problem is that when it’s finished it beeps not just once, but 10 very loud times! And after three years I still haven’t found a way to shush the beeping noise other than to stuff the whole thing in my pillow. Remember it’s dark, my husband is still asleep and I really have to pee now.

The fourth problem is the reading of the temperature. It’s too early to immediately record it, so go back in bed and wait till morning to record the temperature in my phone. But I only get 1 chance. Because after it turns off, there’s only a few seconds to read the digits when you turn it back on. After a few seconds it’s ready to measure again and the results of the previous measuring are gone forever.

Not a real problem? Oh but it is. You see because the display is so tiny and has no backlight, it’s almost impossible to distinguish a digital 1 from a digital 7. And this comes really precise, because the app has to measure your temp with with two digits. So a 36.31 is a huge difference to a 36.37…

It also occurred to me that this is a problem with all digital clocks. And there’s an easy solution too. Why not agree on moving the line of the 1 to the right and the line of the 7 to the left. That way you can even see what number it’s supposed to be when the top bar isn’t working..

To demonstrate:

Better Digital Number Design

Better Digital Number Design


So In my opinion this design needs some second order thinking. The thermometer itself looks okay, but I doubt if any of the designers have been using it the way it was intended.

At least it reminds me every morning not to make the same mistake and to keep being aware of HOW and WHERE my designs are used. In what circumstances and by whom.

Thanks & have a great day,