Thursday, February 08, 2007

Form or Function?

Over the past few months, we have accumulated several of the Parents' brand toys. More specifically, the bath-time tug boat, the instrument set and the "palm pilot".
I was immediately drawn to these toys because of their funky, appealing colors and achingly lovely appearance. Honestly, I kinda wanted to buy every darn toy they were offering. I'm a sucker for good design.

Then we actually played with these toys and suddenly all the pretty colors and cutesy characters in the world couldn't make up for how poorly the toys functioned.

The boat's portholes were so close to the base that the slightest splash in the tub sank the whole thing AND(this one kills me) the life preserver is made of thick rubber and plastic and doesn't float!

The palm pilot is sort of an etch-a-sketch type devise, BUT the drawing surface is so saggy and unsupported that it is difficult to actually draw on without permanently indenting the surface, and even then, you can barely see the image.

The musical instrument set, by far the best of the bunch, is not without flaws either.
The ladybug chime instrument has the exact same notes on both sides so instead of 6 different notes/tones(?) you get just 3, and the bumble bee clacker thingy is bound so tightly that no matter how hard you shake it the wings don't slap together.

I found all these flaws really surprising considering these toys are branded with the name of a magazine that I have always considered a good source for recommendations of educational toys that functioned well.
It felt like they designed these toys and then never even tested them to see if they functioned properly. Form over function....and that isn't good design!

Maybe I'm alone in this opinion? I don't know...


steviegene said...

ten years later...i'll comment.
we bought all of these toys with high hopes too and ALL have since gone into the Goodwill box.
What's the deal?
That Palm Pilot made me especially sad because they loved it...the permanent indention is CRAZY.

Suzy said...

I know... we were really surprised that these toys functioned so poorly. :(