Slanty (and underhanded) Design

I’ve been entranced with the notion of Slanty Design ever since I read Russell Beale’s article about it in Communications of the ACM in 2007. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Slanty Design is kind of anti-affordance, a difficulty-of-use employed to achieve certain design decisions. I think even the acknowledgment of such tools mark a maturity of interaction design: it’s not solely about making things easy to use. (Just, perhaps, mostly?) Unfortunately, the use of slanty design isn’t always to encourage better behavior. Sometimes it’s just greed.While waiting for a prescription at Walgreens I drifted across the aisle to see the following product shelving.

Slanty design at Walgreens

Note that it’s only the top-tier brands of foot cream that are under lock and key. If you want any of them, you have to find a store employee and have them unlock the case for what some customers might consider an embarrassing product. But just below that are other options, most notably Walgreens’ own “no-name” brands of the same products. Something tells me that the hassle is enough slantiness to get more people to buy the Walgreens brand instead.

Chris Noessel

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