Introduction: How to Identify, and Deal With, a Design Flaw

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
The Triax watch from Nike is super handy for running, but it has a tragic flaw. This instructable is about how I decided to analyze the flaw and figure out a way to make a workaround for myself.

I've long been a fan of the Triax watches. The designers behind it, ASTRO, even got a Design of the Decade award for it. The big numbers and the tilted face make it a dream to use while running. And yet I never had one until I got one as a Christmas present last year.

While all of the standard features work great with the easy-to-read digits and the lap times, there was one feature that was included that has caused plenty of problems. For the life of me, I have no idea why it's on there.

Step 1: Identify the Problem

This situation has happened to me dozens of times. I'll look down at my watch and see that the time is 12:00 am. The watch is stuck in Alarm Set mode because the Alarm Set button was pressed.

Why anyone would use their watch, especially one designed for running, as an alarm system is beyond me. There are clocks everywhere! Alarm clocks, clocks on the walls, clocks on poles, clocks on your computer monitor, a clock on your cell phone. Most of these have the ability to make an awful noise at a set time if you want them to.

In the past year, I've used the alarm function once and that was only as the third alarm that was set because I was so exhausted I figured that I could use every back-up system available. One use per year should hardly make this button so important, but it is.

I'll show you how.

Step 2: Analyzing, Part 1

Here are some reasons that the Alarm Set button is the dominant button:

- It's on the front. The other four buttons are off to the side and unlikely to be hit accidentally. Not so for the Alarm Set button.
- It sticks out twice as far. More than twice as far, even. It sticks out .079" as opposed to .034" for the other buttons.
- It's cylindrical. While the other buttons are shaped so that the edges are nearly flush with the surface, the Alarm Set button has corners and straight sides, making it easier to catch on the edge of a pocket.

So what is the importance of this button then?

Step 3: Analyzing, Part 2

Here's my breakdown of the five buttons on the watch in terms of ease of use. As you can see, the Alarm Set button is #1. The other four buttons are positioned brilliantly as they are exactly in the order I would be needing to use them.

All of this just reinforces the idea that the Alarm Set button is some horrible plastic pimple that was likely crammed onto the watch at the last second.

"We've designed this beautiful watch for runners and have placed all the buttons in the most harmonious places. I could besoil myself with joy right now!"
"But how about the alarm function?"
"You know, for the on-the-go types who need reminders?"
"This is for running with lap times and easy to read numbers."
"Just put the alarm button on. I like buttons and I need to prove that I did something on this project."
"I pay your salary."
"OK, yes."

Step 4: Make a Workaround

Another problem with the setting of alarms is that there are not one but two alarms that can be set. So you'll need to hit the Alarm Set button once or twice to get to see the time. If you're in a hurry you might push it once too many and have to hit it a couple more times. Don't laugh, this is one of the stupid things I do often. I'm not proud of it.

So I decided to set the alarm times once and for all. The first alarm is set for 2 am and the second is set for 1 am. Each alarm time tells me how many more times I need to hit the stupid Alarm Set button the next time I'm trying to catch the train and don't want to think about it.

Note: I could've physically altered the watch, but I didn't want to ruin the look of it and didn't want to risk the integrity of its ability to keep water out.

Fine, Nike, you win, I've learned to accept this horrible button. Next time, please take it out and burn it and put the video on YouTube.

Step 5: Send a Letter to the Company

You don't need to take lots of pictures and share your frustration with a button (a freakin' button!) with the world. You can simply find a customer service e-mail address and send some virtual bile that way as well.

Oh, sure, I could get another watch, but most of the time it's awesome. It really is! I only do all this because I care. And because I hate this miserable Alarm Set button.

Thank you.