Mike Eng User Experience Designer 401-234-4611
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Usability Observation #6

Jan 29, 2010

Toothpaste Tube

Poll: Do you roll or squeeze a tube of toothpaste?

Here’s a classic differentiator in people’s everyday habits: the tube of toothpaste – whether to roll or squeeze. As it turns out, according to one informal poll, a slight majority squeeze. While rolling (especially when nearing the end of the toothpaste) can ensure complete extraction of toothpaste, squeezing, no doubt, is quick and easy.

In the case of my girlfriend, I have noticed this rolling behavior extended to a number of different objects completely unrelated to oral hygiene.

She claims that rolling her cream cheese in this manner keeps it fresh longer. I believe it. Interesting though that the choice to roll the long edge throws off the measurement indicators on the foil.
English muffins. This one blew my mind and inspired me to write this post. The rolling obviously has no effect on freshness seeing as how the rolled paper packaging is contained within a bag. However, it does diminish the footprint the item occupies in her fridge.
We may weigh these options out once in a while, but for the most part, they’re habits tucked away so deep that we can think through our day while we brush our teeth rather than thinking about how best to extract the toothpaste from the tube, unless reading this makes you think about the choice next time.

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