An odd reflection on some good design

I am currently entering my last two weeks of being an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. Knowing that the time between graduation and work is the last uninhibited vacation for a long while, I am planning a Eurotrip to Greece and Italy with a friend from highschool. Among the travel plans, i needed to get a watch (i do not want to lose my pocket watch in europe). Knowing all I need is a cheap digital watch with an alarm, my father purchases and sends me a watch that he found. He sends me the Casio F91. Now I am sure the people who know that model by name are numbered, so here is a pretty picture.

After opening the package these were the thoughts that went through my mind:
“wow, i havent seen this watch model in years”
“i remember the band snapping off”
“its sort of the ‘my first real watch’ watch for young children”

In short, I remembered having this exact watch when younger. When putting it on, I felt how light and inexpensive it was. Then, i went to navigate the three buttons on the unit. In less than a minute, I had exhausted every function of the unit. This is said in respect, not insult to the device. The fact that a system I have not experienced in well over a decade comes back so naturally is an achievement of the designers. Granted the watch only has three buttons – but I have seen many systems that take simplicity of form for granted in an ever confusing hierarchy of actions. The ease of use of the watch is an impressive feat for any designer, especially considering this watch was probably designed well before interaction methods and usability had the buzz worhtyness they do today.

So in the end, this is just a tip of the hat to the designers and engineers of the Casio F91 digital watch. A beginner watch no doubt, its interface shows simplicity and function very well.

1 Response to “An odd reflection on some good design”

  1. 1 Chris May 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Blogging Research

    I am a doctoral student, studying at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY.

    I am conducting a research project on the topic of blogging and would like to invite you to participate as a subject in my study. Ferkauf faculty member Dr. Shelly Goldklank is supervising this project. You have been selected for participation in this study as part of a random sample of bloggers.

    I would greatly appreciate your assistance in completing a questionnaire regarding your use of your blog, as well as an online survey of your personality traits. Additionally, I ask for demographic information, such as age, gender, etc. After I receive your answers to the questionnaire on your blog usage, I will contact you again to review your responses or to ask new questions that arise from your initial responses. The time to complete the entire survey is about 30-50 minutes. This study has been reviewed and approved by the Committee on Clinical Investigations Institutional Review Board at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

    To participate in this research study you must be at least 18 years old. You must also be a blogger who updates your blog at least weekly for a minimum of 3 months. At least one of your blogs must be public. Your participation in the study is voluntary. Your identity will be kept confidential and data referenced in the final results will be stripped of identifying information. Your name and contact information will be kept in a locked box for the duration of the research study and this same contact information will be destroyed six months after completion of the study. The research study will be completed June 2008 at the latest. Within six months after the completion of the study those subjects interested in obtaining the results may receive them at the end of the study, at which time I may retrieve the names and addresses from the locked file.

    There are no direct benefits to all participants in the study. Your completion of the on-line survey will indicate that you have read, understood, and agree to the terms of participation in this study as outlined above.

    If you are interested in participate in this study, please email me at I will then email you a link to the online survey, as well as the questionnaire I have designed.

    Thank you again for your assistance with the completion of this research project.


    Christopher Belz, M.A.
    Doctoral Student (preferred email) (school email)
    Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
    Rousso Building
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    Yeshiva University
    1165 Morris Park Avenue
    Bronx, NY 10461

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