How Can You Screw up a Power Switch?!?!?!

Behold: the Verilux “Comfort Lens”:

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This is just a panel with some very bright LEDs. It’s purpose is to combat depression arising from Seasonal Affective Disorder. People need sun. Where I live in Oregon, winters are cloudy and dark; the sun rarely makes an appearance. Scientists have found that exposing yourself to bright light helps combat the problem. Hence this device. 

So, what could be simpler than a panel with some bright LEDs? How could anybody screw up the design of such a device? Well, the creative people at Verilux have risen to the challenge and managed to produce a truly idiotic design. I direct your attention to the power switch:

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This is a simple slide switch; it costs pennies to manufacture, it’s reliable, and it looks nice. There’s just one problem: it’s difficult to use. Theoretically, you should simply push it sideways with your finger to turn it on. Sorry, that’s not possible. First, the grip ridge (the vertical ridge in the middle of the slide switch) is too shallow to provide any purchase for your finger. If you push it sideways with your fingertip, the whole unit simply slides backward. As an experiment, I held the unit firmly in place with one hand and used my fingertip to try to slide the switch. No luck: my finger simply slid over the top of the switch.

It is possible, using concentration and exerting yourself, to turn on the thing with one hand gripping the side, like so:

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However, this requires some care. I find myself using both hands most of the time, like so:

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This is the quickest, easiest way to turn it on or off. What it needs is a simple flip switch, like this:


This would cost no more than the slide switch; it would be instantly recognizable to the user; best of all, it wouldn’t take two hands to operate.

What idiot designed this device? What were they thinking? Did they even try out a prototype to see how it worked? Did the idiot’s boss try it out? Did ANYBODY at Verilux actually try to turn on the device before they began shipping?