Bad UI of the day

A friend of mine sent me the photo below of a Sears Craftsman reciprocating saw.


What do you suppose the yellow switch does? Since the positions are labeled ‘0’ and ‘1’, my first thought was that they were off and on respectively. But no!

The yellow switch controls blade operation: normal versus orbital. But which label corresponds to which operation? You can’t tell before you turn on the saw, and even while it’s running it’s not obvious. But you can tell if you watch the blade closely as it slows down after you turn the saw off.

The printed instructions that came with the saw say:

The first position is for normal blade operation, and the second position is for orbital blade operation.

But which is “first”, the position labeled ‘0’ or ‘1’? A normal human being might think that 1 and 1st go together. Being a programmer, I assumed—correctly—that 0 is the 1st position.

5 thoughts on “Bad UI of the day

  1. at first, i though they might be pictures, not numbers (until i looked more closesly at the “1”). But, even the shapes of the numbers are opposite of their operation modes:

    0 is round (but not orbital)
    1 is linear (but not normal)

  2. does anyone have a theory on this ?
    I know in at least some cases, the bad design is coming from china; I assume they probably never use a tiger saw, or don’t care, or don’t understand Latin symbols..not really there fault, is it ?

    in other cases, kids actually prefer videos (!)

    There is also the phenomenon that stuff changes faster, so it is really difficult to keep up

    the instructions that come with lego robots that your 10yearold puts together are OUTSTANDING
    in the old days, manuals came with line drawings, since, i suppose it was cheaper to pay a draftsman to draw then it was to print photos. (just as our current obsession with charts and graphs didn’t exist in the 1980s or earlier, cause graphs were hand drawn and dam** hard to do – I know, I’ve still got the rapidographs and pantograph and letraset sheets)

    and the line drawings were a lot better then most photos; i have some pdfs of old laboratory equipment from Hoefer scientific, and the line drawings are so much better then photos…cause, i think, the draftsman selected out the stuff you needed.

  3. I first thought as David.
    Ok, 0 is the first position, but its shape suggests an orbital blade operation, not linear !
    Oh well… so much non-sense !
    Does the saw work well ?

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