Our new office has a dishwasher. It’s sleek, modern, and silent. It blends into the stainless cabinets and countertops just perfectly. It has the same handle style as the drawers and doors to the left and right. It has no buttons or lights or anything on the outside. You don’t even know it’s there.

And this is why it’s bad.

This is it, right there in the middle:

Looks great, right? Well that depends.

At least once a week when I open it up to add a dirty cup or plate I get sprayed. Water shoots out the sides and splashes me and the floor. It’s on, but there’s no indication it’s on. It’s so good that you can’t even hear it. That’s actually bad. It’s so integrated that it doesn’t look like a dishwasher. That’s actually bad.

I used to curse it, but now I’ve made peace with it. I actually like having it around. Every time I see water on the floor, or on my shirt, I’m reminded of the subtle differences between good and bad design.

Subtle because sometimes all it takes is the smallest little thing to turn bad to good (or good to bad). A tiny bright LED light in the upper right corner could indicate ON. When the light’s on, don’t touch. When’s its off you don’t even see it. It doesn’t interfere with the overall design. That little light would make everything else — the visual design, the silence, the integration with the rest of the kitchen — worth it.

Or it could lock when it’s on, unlock when it’s off. You wouldn’t be able to unlock it once it’s on because there’s no exterior lock handle, but that seems like a small sacrifice to stay dry.