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Don't push that button!

Kids' camera Our three-year-old son received this camera as a gift. The camera was designed for children. (See Photo A.) Our son used the camera to take pictures, but being curious, couldn't resist pressing all the buttons on the camera, including the button on the side of the camera that opens the film compartment .(See Photo B.) He kept opening the camera and ruining the film.
Kids' camera closeup of film compartment button Kids' camera with film compartment screwed closed He ruined the film 3 or 4 times in several days. The film was expensive. I tried to teach him, with no success, not to open the camera until all the film was used. The camera needed a childproof film compartment. Finally I "fixed" the camera so he couldn't open the film compartment. I put a screw into the camera to keep the film compartment button from being pressed. (See Photo C.)

Design Suggestion

My solution, although effective, was inconvenient since it required the use of a screwdriver to open the film compartment. A more convenient alternative solution might be having two buttons on the camera that have to be pressed simultaneously to open the camera. This may have kept our son from discovering how to open it.

Another alternative solution might be a lock mechanism to prevent the camera from being opened with the button on the side until all the film is used. However, there should be a way to bypass the lock mechanism and open the camera.

Both alternative solutions would also prevent the camera from being opened accidentally. Of course, since neither alternative solution would be intuitive for users, brief directions/instructions about opening the film compartment should be included on the camera.

This "Bad Design" example is unusual because the problem is that it is too easy to open the film compartment. Usually the problem with a device is that it is too difficult to use!

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