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Canned tuna

(picture of tuna cans) Have you ever brought home the wrong kind of canned tuna from the grocery store or noticed how much time you spend trying to find the right canned tuna on the shelves? If you have, then read on. If you haven't, you may have trouble with this one.

I think one problem is that there are a lot of different "dimensions" to canned tuna. There is the brand, the size, the type of tuna, and type of liquid in the can. And all of the tuna cans look like, uh... well... tuna cans! Selecting tuna requires at least 4 decisions and it's easy to forget what all of the decisions are without looking at all of the tuna. For example, do I want "chunk light", "chunk white" or "solid white"? Lets see, two of the choices have "chunk" and two have "white" so I have to remember that we like both "solid" and "white". (Aren't chunks solid and isn't white light?) And don't forget to get the tuna in "spring water". If you bring home any tuna in vegetable oil its going to be sitting on the shelf until the next earthquake. No wonder I have trouble grocery shopping!

Design suggestion

There is a basic tension between making things look the same and making them look different. You want the canned tuna to look like other canned tuna so you can find it. But you also want the different kinds of canned tuna to be identifible. One suggestion would be to figure out a way combine the different canned tuna dimesions into an integrated image. For example, for solid white tuna in spring water, have an image of a whole white tuna jumping out of water. For chuck light tuna in oil, have a couple of chunks of tuna floating in oil (Humm... doesn't sound very appetizing, does it?). The idea behind this scheme is that it would be easier to recognize an image of what you want than to try to remember all of the verbage. Of course we'd have to usability test it to make sure we weren't making things worse.

Another way to make life easier might be to organize the tuna by type rather than brand. Put all the solid whites in spring water together. At least it would make it easier to compare prices.

After thought

Actually I found out the best way to pick the canned tuna I need to buy. Just look for the highest prices and that'll probably be it. Kind of depressing, isn't it?

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