Usability Journal Post #4

Today’s topic of usability is the cereal box. To me, opening and maintaining a cereal box has always been less than useable. When you are opening a normal sized cereal box, 99% of the time you don’t intend to eat the entire contents of the box in one sitting. This is the biggest issue with cereal boxes. They aren’t very good at affording the opportunity to keep the cereal as fresh as possible. For starters, I find myself ripping the cardboard tabs a lot, significantly hindering the usefulness of the tab. I accidentally did this to the box of Reese’s Puffs that I currently have.

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The other major problem with these cereal boxes is that the bags inside that actually have the cereal in them are hard to open. Again, I kind of messed up the bag attempting to open it.

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Not only is it easy to tear part of the bag, but there is no resealable function to these bags. This places a negative constraint on the cereal that you have to eat all of the cereal within a week or two, or the cereal will become stale. Sure, you could clip the bag shut, but that requires an extra device to do something that should be put into the bag itself.

To fix these usability issues, these cereal boxes should simply become a bag with the branding and information printed directly on the bag. These bags would also be resealable, so you don’t have to worry about your cereal becoming stale. This what my mental model of a good cereal container should be. There are cereal brands that already use resealable bags as the container for their cereal. But it surprises me that it’s the cheap knockoff brand that has better usability in their product instead of the top of line, name brands. My roommate has a bag of “Cinnamon Toasters,” clearly a Cinnamon Toast Crunch knockoff. However, this cheap knock off bag fixes the main usability issues with a cereal box. I hope that the name brands also switch to this design in the future.

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