Ready Designs

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GDBD: Bamboo Cat Grooming Glove

Good Design Bad Design

January 22nd, 2011

Good Design, Bad Design: Bamboo Cat Grooming Glove

The Verdict: Good Design!

The Takeaway: As designers, we need to remember to go beyond the basics and think about the total user experience to always optimize, optimize, optimize!

The Details: The Bamboo Cat Grooming Glove is a rubbery cat accessory designed to work for both wet and dry grooming. It has two depths of bumpy rubber knobs on the “brush” side and a fuzzy cloth patch on the other for picking up loose fur.

The Bamboo Brand Cat Grooming Glove

This product impressed me enough to write about it for one primary reason: Inside the glove attached to each side is a strap for holding smaller hands in place. This means the product designers thought about the needs of their entire user base, instead of just making assumptions based on their own or “average” hand sizes, or making multiple products for various users. Indeed, my own rather small hand would have been very loose inside this glove if it weren’t for the little yellow straps.

Grooming Glove Interior Straps

The product has various other little touches that show thoughtful design. For one thing, the actual body of the glove is made of a two-layer mesh, letting water pass easily through and promoting fast drying. The bumpy rubber knobs, as I mentioned, are at dual heights for varied grooming depth. The wrist band portion is made of a slightly stretchy, soft rubbery material for comfort and adjust in tightness with Velcro. There is even a little hole in the band for hanging it up. The fuzzy cloth patch on the back will help with cleanup after a grooming session leaves loose fur clinging to furniture.

Grooming Glove Mesh Material

The product isn’t perfect. The straps on the inside have no elasticity and still show the assumption the consumer’s hand will fit one of two basic sizes. The glove is hardly a precision instrument, however, so a little wiggle room if a hand doesn’t fit the straps won’t make it unusable. I also saw a review that the opening at the wrist is too tight for large hands, despite the slight elasticity and the Velcro adjustability.

The Conclusion: The people who designed the grooming glove decided to go a step further than basic functionality and aim for usability optimization. They could have left off any one of the little user-friendly details and still had a functional product, but they thought beyond the basics to solve the real user problems of fast drying, comfort, fur cleanup, and a firm grip regardless of hand size. In short, they solved problems it would not have even occurred to me to complain about as the consumer, but which improve the overall user experience enough that I will seek out Bamboo again for future purchases.

Now, they just need a better website design for their Bamboo brand site so it does a better job of promoting their products. It doesn’t show up in a casual search for their brand, and the UI is so uninspiring I almost didn’t look at their products when I got there, despite being so impressed with the grooming glove.

What do you think? Did Bamboo do a good job solving problems, or could they have done better? Don’t be shy to leave a comment below, and check out the rest of the GDBD series!

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