I’m sure there are people who have criticized the power adapter for the MacBook, but this time it happened in my life. I’ve had problems with the MacBook power adapter before. It sometimes lost connections. But I never thought to criticize it. I was just thinking maybe the power outlets have some problems. The CGT512 course did change the thinking habits of many of us. I start to be more aware of things around, and start to have interesting and constructive conversations with people around about various design issues. Before the critiques, I’d like to say that I really like the MagSafe magnetic head connector on the power adapter. Apple did put a lot of thoughts into this. Another thing I like about the power adapter (including the iPhone/iPad power adapters) is that, unlike typical US electric plugs (for the two-prong type, one is smaller and the other one is bigger), the Apple power adapter has two equal sized prongs, so I can use this power adapter in China too, without any kind of conversion. But… here comes the critiques:
1. It takes too much space on the power outlets.
Our CGT512 Usability Report 3 team had a meeting on a Thursday. We had the meeting in a lab, and many of us need power outlets. But the other team members have to move two other power plugs to make room for my adapter. The “huge” square takes too much space, and cannot rotate directions.
2.The wire connecting to the huge square is too thin, and would eventually be broken.
Besides taking too much space, one team member Nick criticized the thin wire. He said it would eventually be broken. And then I started to notice that part was actually getting yellow and looked aged. Then, about 5 days later, it is really broken, and stopped charging.
Then I started a conversation with a colleague who also use a MacBook, and we found other design issues with the power adapter.
3. The square is too huge and heavy, and the two short plug prongs cannot hold the weight, so it sometimes get skewed and loose, and lost the connections.
4. The adapter has a long extension wire, without the extension wire, it is short. If you forget the extension wire, sometimes you cannot reach the power outlet.
5. In order to use the extension wire. You need to take off the small cap with the two prongs and connect the extension wire, and then the small cap will get lost easily.
I think it’s interesting to be aware of these design issues in life and start interesting conversations with people around. But don’t become too much of a design-issue-picky-nerd 🙂 This is the reality, there is always room to improve!