Examining expected problems

A product lesson from a very cold window

A little while ago I (finally) got myself a decent desk and set up my workspace. It’s set up next to a window, which is nice (even if the view is of a brick wall). I’ve even got a window box - look Ma, I’m a proper adult.

However, since snow arrived in London, it’s been incredibly unpleasant - the window is freezing! That’s not a huge surprise given it’s a 110 year old building and these are traditional sash windows.

At first I tried using the blinds to try and trap the room’s heat. I whacked up the radiator… no success. After a few days of shivering I started looking up how much replacing the old window with new double glazed sash windows would cost - as much as I do want my home to eco-friendly, £800+ per window is not ideal.

So I started actually investigating where the cold was coming from. On closer inspection, there were just a few areas where a breeze was getting in. Armed with a £1 roll of draft excluder, I set about plugging the gaps.

Is the window still cold? Yes, but it’s a significant improvement.

Sometimes we assume that the deficiencies of something are inherent. I expect that old sash windows lose heat, so I assumed there was nothing I could do about that.

But assumptions mean we don’t bother to investigate problems. To what degree are the problems we’re experiencing are immutable? With inquiry we may find that much of the problem is easily addressed, or at least mitigated.

The same is true for technology products. Before you throw away the website/app/tool that you take for granted is not fit for purpose, look for the low hanging fruit that would make it, if not loveable, much more bearable to use.