Bad usability, Dettol

Anyone who is making anything for consumers needs to keep usability in mind. This applies for every single product. Bad usability means dissatisfied customers. Software professionals usually learn this the hard way.

But what I'm writing about today is not about software. It is about a commonly used product - Dettol liquid soap.

I use Dettol liquid soap a lot. Now, it comes in a plastic container that has a nozzle at the top which when pressed dispenses a little liquid soap. The volume of liquid soap in the plastic container is 135 ml.

Earlier, every time you completed using the contents of the container, you had to throw away the container and buy a new one. This was a waste because the plastic container could easily be reused. Someone obviously realized this and Dettol liquid soap started becoming available in refill packs which you could buy and empty into the plastic container with the nozzle and then use.

But, guess what the problem is?

The refill pack comes with 200 ml of the liquid soap. Whereas the container is meant for only 135 ml.

I never checked the volumes either on the refill pack or the plastic container. The first time around, I was happily emptying the refill pack's contents into the container and suddenly the liquid soap overflowed from the container.

I assumed that the refill pack would have the same volume as the original container. Some smart ass at the company that makes Dettol decided that the refill pack should have 200 ml and no one ever thought through the implications.

I checked the two volumes and realized this. So, now every time I buy a refill pack, I have to empty out a part of it and there is always a little bit left which I have to either throw or wait till some liquid soap is used up and then fill the remaining into the container.

A little thought is all that is required for good usability. This is true in software as much as it is in real life.


Kartik said…
Yes, I have noticed this too. So, may be you need to buy one more of those plastic soap dispensers. Better still, ditch the Dettol plastic dispenser and see if you can buy a nice looking dispenser(no compatibility issues outside the Mac World ;p - forced to mention this after trying hard to transfer some files to a MacBook that my brother is using right now). Anyway, using a second dispenser is better than leaving the soap in the opened packet, and even better than throwing away 65ml of soap :)
Anonymous said…
why not buy a second dispenser?! simple!!!
leave it to men to complicate the most inane of things!!!