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Old February 18th, 2015, 11:28 AM
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1972 SIII 109
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Why We Should Design Some Things to Be Difficult to Use

Pretty funny. We are The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen...

From Wired Magazine:
The first car I ever drove was a bashed Land Rover Defender. I was working at an outdoor pursuits centre in North Wales. Changing gear was like Russian roulette; you stirred the stick until it jammed somewhere, then let out the clutch and hoped you hadnít selected reverse. There was an art to everything: even opening the windows required a patient chick-a-chick-thunk of the latch.

When you can wrangle an old Landie like that, you become part of a select group. Itís a group that will dwindle from now on, as Land Rover has announced that it is discontinuing its iconic Defender range in favor of more user-friendly cars. I, for one, will be sad to see it go. We should be wary of only designing for ease of use. Thereís a lot to be said for designing for difficulty of use. Iíd like to say a few of those things here.


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Old February 18th, 2015, 11:34 AM
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I don't really agree that the Land Rover is actually difficult to use.

The Defender is really actually very simple to use - it's simply unrefined. There is a clutch pedal, a brake pedal, and an accelerator. If you want to have ventilation, you open two flaps in the front of the bulkhead with two levers. If you want to shift gears, you do. There is a lever that locks the center differential and also engages low or high gear.

I don't see how a modern vehicle with its almost endless clusters of displays, switches, and buttons is somehow easier to use than a Landy.

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Old February 18th, 2015, 11:40 AM
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John B.
1991 Defender 90, 200TDI
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It sounds like the Defender this guy drove was in bad shape.
Pissing people off on the "net" since 1983.

Land Rover. Turning owners into mechanics since 1948.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 12:05 PM
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Jackie Treehorn
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That was a great read. I don't think a Defender is difficult to use at all, but it does require your attention.
A Series is difficult to use compared to a Defender.
My 110 is a daily driver and while I consider myself a very good and aware driver, my awareness peaks when driving the Defender. Maybe that's because it's RHD, but it's not a vehicle you can be "asleep at the switch" when operating. You can forget about texting and driving, and with a diesel you can even forget about having a clear phone conversation. It's all about operating the truck, but isn't that what you're supposed to be doing anyway?

I don't think you have to be a "master" of anything to drive a Defender (even a RHD), but the global standard for what constitutes "driving" is so poor these days, people feel as though their being asked to put a spacecraft in orbit if they are required to do something as simple as use a clutch pedal.

I like the article though, it highlights yet another reason why my defender is my daily driver.....it makes you a better driver.
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