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The user experience of hot dog buns

We’re gearing up for our annual FatDUX barbeque. Naturally, hot dogs will be on the menu along with lots of other goodies. The problem is, Danish hot-dog buns don’t let you load up with chili, cheese, relish, onions, sauerkraut, and all the other stuff you get on your dog at Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island and other hot-dog stands of reknown.

So, as the good user-experience designers we are, we decided to do some user research.

Upon investigation, it turns out that Wikipedia actually has an article about hot-dog buns. Let us share some of the more interesting facts:

“A hot dog bun is a type of soft bun shaped specifically to contain a hot dog. There are two basic types: top-loading, which is popular in New England, and side-loading, preferred in the South and Midwest United States.

The advantages to a top loader are that it holds the hot dog securely and fits nicely into little three-sided paper boxes. Top loaders are generally baked side by side and torn apart as needed, leaving a flat side surface for grilling.

Side loaders tend to be doughier, so are more likely to successfully sop up all the juices from chili or sauerkraut without falling apart.”

Now here in Denmark, I’ve never seen anything except side-loaders (Gosh, who knew there was a technical term for this). That is until yesterday when I discovered the “Grab Dog” form-fitting hot-dog holder from the Danish bakery, Paaskebrød. An innovative solution? Absolutely. But a good solution?

We’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Typical Danish hot dog bun cracks at the hinge when opened.


Grab dog attempts to solve the broken hinge problem


Grab dog attempts to solve the broken hinge problem

The Grab Dog bun. Not easy to toast and fairly dry to begin with.


Grab Dog works OK with standard hot dogs (er, where did these standards come from?


But larger hot dogs cause bun to crack.

User testing at FatDUX. Our Business Development Director, Stine Ringvig, was not pleased with the dried out Grab Dog that quickly fell apart during her lunch.


On-site ethnographic research at our local ecological hot-dog stand.


Dennis shows us how Danish hot dogs are traditionally served.


Danish hot dogs come with the bun on the side, not as a single culinary unit.


Ecological bun from Korvbröds Bagarn in Sweden is delicious and doesn’t crack!


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