The simplest of designs are usually the best because the function is communicated instantly as the form describes its operation effectively.

Sometimes we lose our way for an array of reasons. A committee votes without actually testing the design themselves. A person of higher rank abuses their position and uses power to meet a deadline. The designer him/herself may have been overworked or lacked appropriate time for research. Or, the least favorite, a company is adhering to a set of standards and refuses to do what is right for fear of breaking their own rules.

Using the snooze button in Apples Clock app, in just about any version of the iOS, is painful and an utter slap in the face of design. This is not a button. This is text and a tiny interaction area where the hand meets the snooze. Actually, this is not a snooze button, this is pick up your phone, look at this bright backlit wedge and focus your eyes to read “snooze.” Now you are up. That is not a snooze button.

History shows us that past snooze buttons were for the most part designed correctly. A simple button that does a very effective job. The button itself is typically located central to the top of the physical clock and larger than any other button on the device. Some other factors come into play, since as these clocks exist in the physical world it gives them a competitive usability advantage over their digital competitors. Tactile buttons that have greater differentiation, compared to all other buttons on the clock, allows the sleepy person to find the snooze button effectively by touch only, never having to use sight. For most of us, once our eyes are open, we are awake.

Stating the problem in detail caused the solution to present itself. However, what’s far more important is history, which delivers to us the foundation of the solution. The problem can’t be completely solved as the screen of the device doesn’t yet provide any tactile responsiveness. But considering past design, we can take the hint and apply it for now and make our experience a lot less frustrating. In the example below, the touch area is expanded to leverage all of the unused screen space. This could be improved further and leverage all of the screen (except the slide-to-unlock area) for obvious reasons.