Friday, March 30, 2012


Another cool human experiment. Can you figure out the key to what these represent?

Small visual cues can be very powerful, which explains why caricatures are effective.

(I couldn't find the original source of image to give credit; will do so when I track it down.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Superfluous Signage

Seen on a revolving door. Not sure what it means. I assumed it meant I needed to push the door. It doesn't.


I'm at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans for the IA Summit. The most common topic of conversation seems to be the elevators in the building. They're interesting, because they are controlled by programmable soft keypads which can be changed by the hotel for whatever is going on. You scan your room key, and the pad tells you which elevator will take you to your room. No buttons to push on the elevator.

It's cool, because:

  • It's flexible and programmable
  • There are no buttons to push
  • It increases guest security
  • It seems to improve the flow of traffic

It's awkward, because:

  • Certain banks sometimes go to certain floors, and they change.  You find out whether you won the jackpot after you scan your key.
  • There's no signage. 
  • There's no signage telling you to scan your key, so people mill about, trying to understand what to do
  • People who don't understand sometimes get on an open elevator which has no buttons, and end up on a floor where they don't belong.

My conference is about information design, so it's not surprising (but still amusing) that there are several hundred people available to critique the user experience. Including me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mobile web design

Good post from regarding mobile web design:

I have one beef: he mentions how to disallow user being able to pinch to zoom using an attribute in a viewport meta tag: user-scalable=no

I must say: this is my main frustration with "mobile-optimized" sites--when the designer doesn't allow zoom. I don't understand why you'd ever want to do this, because often users zoom because you made the font too small. It's an accessibility option granted by the default software that you are overriding to preserve your design.

"That's your opinion," says the designer.
"Yes, it is, and I'm your user," says me. "If I can't read your site, then your design is moot."